Cultivating spirituality in our kids
April 09, 2020 - Thursday 4:04 AM by Grace Gaston Dousel
Lent has come and we are all on quarantine. In Davao City, we have recently been placed on Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) while the rest of Luzon is now on extended ECQ. We have been forced by circumstances to stay indoors and be in a more reflective mood. In God’s divine wisdom and sovereign will He appointed for this year’s Holy Week to be celebrated in a more somber mode. No trips to the beach. No out-of-town road trips. Not a lot of distractions, save for the noise on the internet. This may actually be what our souls need.
How do we cultivate spirituality in our kids? How do we help them enter into the true meaning of Lent? Here are a few ideas that might help:
Read about the life of Jesus. Read through the book of Luke in the Bible which gives a good detailed account due to the fact that Luke is a medical doctor and able to capture and describe information well. Read aloud one chapter a day with your small kids and let them narrate to you their favorite part of the story. Talk about what Jesus said or did that they felt was important or awesome. If you have teens, let them read on their own and then take the meal times as opportunity to talk about what they have read and learned. You may also want to supplement the Bible reading with doing a research on the historical facts about the crucifixion and resurrection. For your younger kids, the Jesus film would be a good thing to see. You may also want to watch the movie the “Passion of the Christ” to help older kids and teens get a better grasp of Jesus’ sacrifice to redeem us from sin.
Make prayer a lifestyle. We need to let kids practice prayer as an integral part of each day. And I do not mean just during mealtimes. Praying is like breathing. We do not think when we breathe. We just breathe. Thus, let prayer come to the family as natural as taking in fresh air to refill our lungs. Let prayer be your intake of a fresh dose of faith to strengthen your soul. Let your kids hear you breathe short prayers like, “Thank you, Lord, for…” every opportunity you get. This also helps keep a grumbling spirit at bay. When we see or read something in the news, we can exhale a short prayer, “Father, have mercy.” “Father, please provide for the needy.” “Father, please protect the vulnerable and the weak.” “Father, bless the frontliners.” When a prayer has been answered, make sure to celebrate with your kids and pause and utter a thanksgiving prayer. The beauty of prayer is that we do not need to choose a time and place to do it. “Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” said the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18.
Let music speak to the heart. Nothing touches the heart the way music does. Nothing uplifts the spirit more than the melody of a song. Learn hymns with your kids. Listen to modern soulful songs using Spotify or Youtube. Talk about the story behind the hymn or song. Learn to play it with your musical instruments. Sing it together as a family. Pray using the song as a prompt.
Spirituality is not just on Sundays. Being spiritual is best seen in the mundane things of each day. Doing our chores cheerfully and without bickering is being spiritual. Loving our family members is being spiritual. Praying more for others than our selves is being spiritual. Preparing and eating healthy meals, exercising, and washing our hands regularly are practices of spirituality because we are taking care of our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Homeschooling our children, no matter how challenging, is exhibiting a form of spiritual discipline because we are being faithful and consistent in training a child in the way he/she should go. That is called “discipleship.” Loving our neighbors as we love ourselves is the best expression of our love for God, especially at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. We can be spiritual every single day.
Practice God’s presence daily. When I was a young wife and mother, my frustration was that I could no longer have a regular time for meditation like what I was used to as a single lady. One of my mentors told me, “You should learn to practice the presence of God.” At that time I was puzzled. She didn’t tell me exactly how to do that. Now, in hindsight, I am glad she didn’t. It led me to a daily pursuit of seeking and knowing God. I decided to be on a “God-hunt” and kept looking for God and evidences of His presence each day. Do a “God-hunt” with your kids. Let them see that God is not confined in the four walls of a church building. He is, after all, omnipresent.
May this Holy Week give our families plenty of time to reflect and receive the meaning of this season: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
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