Raising my children in faith has been a joyful road so far. I am amazed at the questions they ask and the way they apply prayers they’ve learned to the experiences they have “out in the real world.” They’re all quite small- 6, 5, and 2- so that is something to keep in mind when it comes to how “deep” things need to get around here. Still, every single week I see evidence of all they are learning and their blossoming relationships with God. It is such a beautiful thing to this mama-heart!
Traditions play such a strong role in how children learn about and develop their faith. For our family, I see the role of tradition play out in three major ways: through legacy and history, through the actions our family, and through observation.
A Legacy of Traditions
One thing is for sure about the Catholic faith- whether you agree with all of it or not, we have a rich, lengthy history. Roman Catholicism is in no way a “modern” or “new-fangled” breed of Christianity. It is a branch of the Christian faith steeped in tradition and rich history. The Mass is very structured and consistent. To my mind, this makes it comforting and predictable for children. I truly love the fact that whether we go to our home church or a Catholic church across the country, we know what to expect and can easily participate. I could send my kids to Mass with Amy in Kansas or Katie in Michigan and they would know just what was happening. There is deep tradition to the way we worship.
Traditions Within Our Nuclear Family
I’ve already talked about the fact that I’m Catholic. I am what is called a “cradle Catholic” since I was baptized into the church as a baby and have remained there ever since. What I have NOT mentioned before, I don’t believe, is that I married a man who is not Catholic. He was raised Baptist. Before we ever married, however, he agreed to marry me in the Catholic church and to raise our children in the Catholic faith. And this is what we have done. What this means, however, is that many of our family traditions need to be started by ME. I am the one who introduced the Advent wreath to our home. I am the one who found our current church and prepares everyone for Mass. I am the one who schedules the children’s baptisms. It’s not that my husband isn’t involved; he is- and very much. He displays a solid, consistent strength for our children and is very supportive of their growth within our faith.
Traditions They Observe From Us
There are certain parts of our faith- fasting during Lent or receiving Communion- in which my children are not yet old enough to participate. Still, it is important that I allow them to witness these things and answer their questions clearly and succinctly. On Ash Wednesday, they wondered why Mama wasn’t eating; that’s an easy teaching opportunity. Every single Sunday, they watch us file up to receive Holy Communion and, to be honest, the fact that they CAN’T yet receive it adds weight- they realize that there is something very important and significant about receiving the body and blood of Christ. Even through acts in which they’re unable to participate, my children are learning and growing within our faith.
Tradition plays a role in so many ways for our Christian family. We have a history of traditions handed down to us from our ancestors. We involve our children in daily traditions and rituals to re-inforce their faiths. And we openly demonstrate traditions that are a part of the faith we celebrate. It is my belief that all of these traditions of faith play an important role in helping to shape and build my children’s relationships with our Lord.
What role does tradition play in the faith of your children?
Be sure to check out how some other fabulous bloggers rely on tradition to build the faith of their children: