Family driven faith, means much more than a person just born into a family of a certain faith.
Family driven faith means that a person is nurtured in their faith from infancy to their adult life, through the teachings and examples set by their parents, grand parents and older siblings.
This could be through the modelling of certain family practices, rituals, through the passing down of family values and good morals and specially through charitable actions of parents.As a young woman, when I was thinking of marriage and family life, I had already decided that together with my future husband we will endeavour to live a life filled with strong faith and family values. We decided to support each other by living a good Catholic marriage.
When I was thinking of children, I asked God to help me bring up our children for God - to love, honour and serve God. Children who would one day serve God, by serving the community and in turn who would live a life of faith when they start their own families.
Families in faith teach and guide their children about God's love for them.
Parents and grandparents would often talk to little children about Jesus. Either through their own life experiences, or through books of saints or through scripture stories etc.
When our children were toddlers, we would read bed time stories and they would often be about a saint’s life, or about Jesus’ life.
From their very young age, we would endeavour to pray the Family Rosary every day. On days we couldn't, we would atleast say a small prayer together. During this time, I would take the opportunity to teach and reflect upon the scripture reading of the day.
After our family prayer we would spend some time just enjoying each other's company or discussing an important topic.
When our children were in primary school age and they began to have friends, we would often organise a faith family fellowship with other families. The children just loved to be able to mingle with their friends in a relaxed home atmosphere. Family-faith-friends are all knitted together and important for a child’s upbringing.
Is family-faith-church important too? Yes of course. Children need to know that they are not born onto an island. They belong to a church. When I say church, I mean God’s family – a family that meets every Sunday – celebrates the Eucharist together – a family that praise and worship God together – a family that is concerned about other family members needs and helps each other.
There are much more that you could do as a church community, but the important thing is to let our children know that they belong to a church community through their baptism.
The most important elements for family driven faith are, the actions or the way of living by the parents and other family members. The ingredients here are love, forgiveness and respect. Children need to see these virtues first in their parents. Does Mom and Dad love, forgive and respect each other?
They also need to see that their parents love, forgive and respect other human beings. It could be friends, relations, or other people in the community.
I personally believe that family driven faith is unshakable.
During my teenage years, peer presure could not influence me to do anything morally or ethically wrong, as I remembered what my parents had taught me and how they lived. I also knew the consequences of such actions and how it could drive me away from my faith.
In summary, if you are reading this article, I am sure that you are strong in your faith and you want to pass on your faith to your children. I hope the few tips I shared above about my family would help you.
Do not depend on the school or church to teach your children about faith. We parents, are the first teachers of faith and family driven faith is the best way to go about nurturing faith in your children.
Return from Family Driven Faith to Family Prayer for more information on how to help and guide your children.