Keeping kids Catholic :)


#1

So I have three kids, 4, 2, and 4 months. My eldest has just started JK, and he is totally enthralled with everything and anything to do with Star Wars (thanks to his 6 year old cousin). Getting him interested in anything remotely religious is a huge task.

We go to church every sunday and sometimes during the week. When we go to church during the week, he likes to go at night. I have some nice religious movies, but they don’t seem to hold his attention. Pretty much all of our religious books are totally ignored, unless you force him to listen to you read it.

Any suggestions on how to get them interested and keep them interested? Any advice or book/movie suggestions?

God bless,
Ut


#2

I dunno how much help I will be since mine are only 5, 3, and 1 (and one on the way), but…

My five year-old son is definitely interested in the faith. We have been homeschooling him using a Catholic program, though (www.chcweb.com) which I think has made a HUGE difference. The Faith permeates everything he does, school-wise. We talk frequently about God and things to do with the faith, he likes to read his Bible (it is also part of his schooling), he enjoys learning about saints, etc. The homeschooling program has recommendations for crafts, games, feast days, pretty much everything- to make our family like truly reflective of the Church in a very gentle way.

Even if you choose not to homeschool, there are a lot of good materials available for family life out there. CHC (from the link above) has the book “A Year with God” which has tons of ideas for things to do throughout the liturgical year as a family. We also really like the “Devotional Stories for Little Folks” books 1 and 2 as nice, short stories about other kids in similar situations to our own kids who learn morals and lessons about the faith. Sometimes they give us a nice starting point or a place to refer back to when we have a conversation with our son.

We pray as a family everyday at meals and before bed, and either together or separately in the morning.

We only attend Mass on Sundays because of the distance we’d have to drive to the parish, but we will occasionally go to a daily Mass and adoration, and we will occasionally take our 5 year old as a big boy thing to do with Mom or Dad.

We try to be good examples to our kids on striving for holiness, too. Try being the operative word there. We also discuss openly with our kids our own prayer life (like praying the rosary or the liturgy of the hours), our need to frequent the sacraments of confession and Holy Eucharist, our love for Our Lord and Our Lady, etc.

So the best advice I have is not to be pushy, but just try to let the faith slowly permeate everything you do and everything your son is exposed to. We have talked about secular shows and stuff in light of the Faith with our son, as well. It’s okay for them to have other interests and not to banish them or show them that it annoys you for them to like things that are morally neutral and age appropriate (as I write this my two sons are upstairs watching the Transformers animated show). Just try to keep things in perspective for them. Ask questions about what they think about the actions of the characters in their shows, and give your opinion as well.

Anyway, I feel like I am rambling. I hope this helps!


#3

how about using Star Wars to point out some Catholic/Christian themes? Point out the good and the bad and the struggle between and how that relates to all of us, sin, etc. There is a lot that is Catholic in Star Wars.

Also if you know he likes the whole Star Wars thing, with heroes and villains and weapons and all that, maybe you can talk to him about some of the more dramatic and heroic Saint’s lives. Just some thoughts:) I’d take what interests him and use it as a springboard. It’s so important that kids(and adults) see our Faith as integral to every aspect of our lives not completely separate.


#4

I remember viewing Mass as extremely boring when I was a kid. My folks stressed the importance, and I understood the need to worship God. However, it just seemed like a waste of time and “going through the motions”. If you keep at it with your kids, you’ll at the very least have given them a foundation when they begin to questions things in their teenage years. It wasn’t until I was well into my undergraduate degree that I actually started to intellectually and spiritually engage with Catholicism and theology. Keep at it. It will pay off for them down the road.

For now, it’s perfectly natural for a little kid to be more interested in starships, troopers, and big explosions.


#5

Thanks for the suggestions. :slight_smile:

We considered home schooling, but we are simply not organized enough for that. I envy your ability to do it. I’ll check out that website you mentioned, and those books. I’m hoping to find something that I can do with them on a daily basis, because they are exposed to so many other things on a daily basis.

My son loves the Transformers Cartoons. He wants to see the movies, but I don’t think I ever want him whatching those.

Thanks again,
God bless,
Ut


#6

The kid is 4. Let him be for now. You’re bringing him to Mass, which is enough.


#7

I used Star Wars to teach him the alphabet. :slight_smile: I took out a whiteboard and marked out all the letters of the alphabet, and whenever I heard a proper name, or some cool star wars ship or weapon, I would ask him what letter the name started with. We got through every letter in the alphabet. He still tells me that S is the first letter for Sandman, Star Wars, Sith, and Storm Trooper. :slight_smile:

Now I wonder how I can tie this in with the faith. :slight_smile: If only St. Francis had a light saber. :wink:

God bless,
Ut


#8

Hmmm. Maybe you’re right.

My wife would agree with you I think. She is a teacher and she tells me that there are some things that kids just arn’t ready for at this stage.

I suppose what I’m looking for is something to provide that cultural immersion in the faith that he gets from TV for other things. Learning through osmosis, you know?

God bless,
Ut


#9

I should add that my parents crammed Catholicism down my throat from an early age - everything from “Life in the Spirit Seminars” in junior high to youth groups to ministry teams. Even went to seminary.

Now I’m a heathen who doesn’t believe in the divinity of Christ. So please, if you want to alienate him completely from your faith, continue to try to force him to like your religion.


#10

Well look at it this way - the Jedi are the Saints. The Sith are the Demons or the Unholy. Everyone else is just in between. You could look at Luke Skywalker as being a representation St Peter who walks through life with Christ(Obi-One) learning from him all he can until Obi-One one day gives his own life for the good of the resistance.(The Christians in Rome - see Pontius Pilate as the emperor)

NO, I am not being facetious - I am being completely real you can have very animated discussions with children on who is who.


#11

I agree. :thumbsup:

Now who is Yoda? :stuck_out_tongue:

God bless,
Ut


#12

Yoda is the little green guy with the pointy ears - not Spock by the way - this one is shorter. BTW- as a way of inserting humor into our holiday after having made so many jokes at this very reference and the Angelic Wars, etc. my dh got a tree topper Yoda do go on top of my very classy burgundy and gold victorian themed christmas tree. After all - I see him as representing the Holy Spirit in movie. Take care and Good Luck. May the Force Be With You and God Bless.


#13

He’s the guy who talks funny,
like: Short you are young Skywalker


#14

Have no fear - the obsessions come and go, but the faith stands true. :slight_smile:

My boys are 6 (almost-7) and 4 1/2 and we went through a time period of being OBSESSED with Star Wars… the CURRENT obsession at my house is the Titanic (and yes, we’ve rented every National Geographic movie about how and why and what caused it’s demise - :rolleyes: you have NO idea… :cool:)…

ANYWAY… like others have mentioned, just make faith an everyday part of your lives. Age 4 is when they can really start memorizing the prayers - Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Angel of God, etc, etc… so make those part of your everyday routines. Talk about faith in it’s everyday importance and application…

Think of it this way… obsessions come and go - you don’t want to go over-the-top because they can get burned out at this age - EASILY… if you just blend the faith into your daily routines and the culture of your lives then it forms ROOTS rather than just a *seasonal *bloom. :slight_smile:


#15

agree with everything.

*“Good morning God. Thank you for another day to work and play. Help me to do my best today. Amen.” * A prayer I said with my kids as soon as they got up. They didn’t have the attn span for much more. Even Our Fathers were too long! (thank goodness those days are long gone now; wild house we had!)

I really didn’t do anything unusual. They went to Catholic school until we moved (one in 7th and one in 5th) and then we couldn’t afford it so they are in public school (HS now). They attend mass, sacraments, volunteer work with the poor now and then, second one will be confirmed in the Spring and plans to help with youth retreats there after. I would say pray, love, apologize for mistakes, listen to them, and answer questions as truthfully as possible, especially when they get older: “Mom, but no one really knows for sure there is a God or afterlife.” “Yes that’s true, but if we knew for sure, there would be no reason to believe. We believe X… because…”

I think God is with them and our example speaks more than what we teach them. In the end they have to choose for themselves and learn the faith from an adult viewpoint. So, while I think catechesis is essential, example of holiness (per scripture), as much as can be mustered, is better (with or without thorough catechesis).


#16

Of course another good way of getting them to look at their religious path is let them watch SOME of the current stuff as they get older (PG not R) and then have discussions on why/why not the movie/show is appropriate and why/why not certain acitons were sinful.


#17

Great advice from all of you.

I was very poorly catechised when I was a child, so I am afraid I might be overdoing it with them. Especially when they seem to resist.

I suppose there are the non negotiables, like we have to attend Sunday mass, we have to say prayers before dinner and before going to bed. But maybe I should ease up on the rest, and just be open about talking to them about religion when they ask.

One question I get a lot from my eldest have to do with death, and what it means to be dead (especially after whatching Luke hack through several hundred storm troopers.) Invariably I talk about heaven and God, and about the special place God, Jesus, and Mary have for him there, where he will be with mummy, daddy. He seems to like that.

Thanks again,
God bless,
Ut


#18

Just think, you were poorly catechized and turned out to be a devote Catholic! Good for you!


#19

One other thought - if they enjoy evening mass - you could always go Saturday night instead of Sunday and still do CCD on Sunday. Just a thought.

On the other thing - stormtroopers are clones. Therefore they really don’t have souls and I would assume really don’t experience death like we do. Yes, it is a cop out but hey sometimes you just have to enjoy a movie for what it is. :D:p


#20

I guess when I was thinking about using Star Wars to teach the Faith, since like Em said they loosed interest in these obsessions pretty quick, I was thinking in broader terms. Not so much which character is which but more along the lines of morals and virtues. Who chose good, who chose evil, who was heroic who was a coward etc., and relate it to real life scenarios or biblical characters and saints. There are many saint who, though they didn’t have light sabers:p fought and died for the faith (St. Joan of Arc comes to mind). St Michael the archangel is pictured with swords etc. I guess what I’m saying is, if he likes the good vs evil epic battle type stuff there is lots there to draw some lessons on virtue and morals from. And aren’t we all engaged the most epic good vs evil battle of all? Appeal to his sense of wanting to be on the good guys side and being a hero and fighting for good.

I think one thing you really have going for you and should encourage is that your son has a good and active imagination. That is important IMHO to foster in him, becasue it helps with the more mysterious and intangible things about our Faith.


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