Parenting Reflection and Tip #1

Loving the Lord with All Your Heart – A Spirituality of Parenting Tip by Robert Funaro

Love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your strength. These words that I am commanding your today must always be on your minds. Recite them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting around your house and when you are out and about, when you are lying down and when you are getting up. Tie them on your hand as a sign. They should be on your forehead as a symbol. Write them on your house’s doorframes and on your city’s gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9

This to me seems like the easiest of all tips; create an environment for loving the Lord. Frame your family’s life around the abundant love that has been given to you from the Creator. From the time of the Hebrew Scripture to the New Testament to the Second Vatican Council to today, our role as parents is to make God’s love alive in our homes so that our children can be witnesses of that love in their daily lives.

Our children watch us. We are their examples, so we need to be so careful about our language, our gestures, and the way we act and interact with each other. How we express our love, how we express our disagreements, how we acknowledge our imperfections and our mistakes are all being watched by the children even when we think they are not watching.

We have all been called to be holy. Holiness is about being aware that the Lord is with us in all of our actions, our interactions, our contacts, and our relationships. Maybe instead of yelling at the children to “GET UP!” we can say, “We have been blessed with a new day – let’s get started together.” Perhaps a note in the lunch box can be simply: “Here is a blessing from Mom and Dad – have a great day and celebrate the Creator’s love.” Maybe as parents we can pray for the less fortunate, disenfranchised, suffering, infirm, the dying and make our children conscious of the bigger community of God’s people. Even the common “‘please” and “thank you” teaches the language of respect for others as does “I’m sorry” and “please forgive me.” These are all simple ways to live the Deuteronomy passage that says “Tie them on your hand as a sign.”

What other things can be done at home to make the living environment a peace-filled, God-Centered, and faith producing environment. Here are some suggestions:
◾Say a blessing at meals; ask your child to say what is important to them
◾Set up traditions.
◾Bless your child with the sign of the cross on their forehead at the end of the day; teach them to bless you
◾Bring your child to Mass and educate them on the many signs and symbols in the church
◾Get special blessing “presents” for their birthday, baptism day etc.
◾Pray for the family who are sick, celebrating a great event, in the process of dying, preparing for sacraments
◾Bless plants that the child can put in the garden

There are many ways of making the Creator alive and well in your home. We hand on our faith to our children. We welcome our children into our faith. We help them so that when they are old enough to choose, they will choose God’s love in their homes.

For Discussion/Reflection

1. What traditions did you have growing up? What traditions would you like to start in your home? How do you feel about beginning special traditions in your home?

2. How do you feel about prayer, blessings etc. in your home? How do you feel about being called to holiness? Do you see this as your vocation? What does it mean to you? What practical ways can you implement some of these ideas into your home?

Robert Funaro

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