Which is harder, making time for yourself or making time for Christ? As a mom of three boys under 5, the challenge to bring Christ into our souls and family is an interesting one. While we make it church weekly as a family, more than only one hour a week is needed to build the necessary spiritual strength and prepare the family for what lies ahead.
So what do you do? Well, I have started collecting great tips on how the Chaldean family can bring Christ into their lives during their daily routine. Here are some of the tips I have collected thus far.
Read the Bible. A paragraph or two that was preached that Sunday, if you can even remember, is not enough. Spend some time with the children reading a small paragraph and discussing the meaning.
Children’s bibles are wonderful. They include colorful pictures and teach needed life-long lessons. There are a number of bible activity books that can also be used alongside the bible.
For older children there is the teen bible or the Catechist for Teen Living. For the young adult in the family, perhaps having them teach you their favorite passage and how it is meaningful in their lives will do wonders in opening the dialogue door in the family.
Bible Peek-A-Boo: Write down bible passages and place them around the house. Hide them in drawers, the cupboard, in a distetha (pot), glass, stuff them in pants and jacket pockets, their toys, wallets, tape them to mirrors, in make-up boxes, stuff them in shoes, tape them to the steering wheel, or any other creative place that your spouse or children would routinely come across. The power of a timely message can change a life.
Passage & Prayer Memorization: A great spiritual and mental exercise for you and the entire family. Take a bible passage or special prayer and try to keep it close to your heart all week. Work with the children to memorize the passage or prayer. Have the children pick a one that sounds cool to them or is relevant to their lives. If they are able to recite the passage or prayer reward them with something they enjoy.
Random Inserts: Talk about God as often as you can during the day. A few short seconds is all you need to comment about how the Lord is good and great. Share the importance of being grateful and appreciative about how the Lord has blessed the family. Share the wonders of our Chaldean values like sharing, serving, kindness, compassion, and wisdom.
Inquiry Learning: Every once in a while, you are sure to get questions from your toddlers about the world around them. For instance, where do eggs come from, is dolma a leaf or how rainbows are made. Of course we should always say we don’t know the answer if we don’t but, as a family research to find the answer. When you do know the answer share how God had a hand in the answer. Say that droplets of the rain reflects the sun’s light, like a reflection from a mirror…and that is how God made it! The mechanism of our world is in perfect balance because God wants us to live a balanced life. God has provided us and other animals with an abundance of food and dolma leaves grow on vines to feed all of God’s creatures.
Say the Rosary: The power of the rosary is undeniable. It has transformed countless lives. Say your prayers and above all say the rosary as a family. If you already do, you are my inspiration; I have yet to get my kids past the stem of the rosary. Although they do like to read the Jesus book, which is my illustrated rosary book with prayers and reflection. My husband’s cousin Amira shares this wonderful tip. Play the rosary CD in the car. You can find them everywhere, at your local parish or at a Catholic gift store. When we get in the car we play the prayer CD. For younger kids there are many sing-along prayers and funny voices to keep the children entertained and comfortable with their faith.
Create Family Rituals: When I was teaching at a Catholic school, as an English Teacher, I had my students write stories. One eighth grader wrote that her parents always gave her and her brother blessings before they went to bed, and it was a routine that helped her feel good. I never forgot that wonderful tip and to this day, I bless my boys before they go to bed, I say “May God be on your mind, your lips and your heart.” I do the sign of the cross on their forehead, their lips and chest. I have done this since they were born. When I forget they call out asking for their blessings.
Holy Water: My sister-in-law Fay and I were talking about religion. Fay’s sister Tanya will be taking her final vows and has been sharing with her family spiritual techniques to strengthen their faith. Fay advises we should always keep holy water in the house and routinely bless our home. We have a little glass jar on the table next to the garage door and a crucifix nearby. It has become routine for me and my kids to bless themselves whenever we leave the house. We bless our house and bless ourselves, before we go up to bed. Not sure what you are thinking, but it is a reminder to me and my kids that Christ is with us. My 5 year old asked me one night, can I bless something else? I really expected him to want to bless his toys, but he said “I want to bless all the world.” He looks at Christ and throws holy water at the crucifix and says “bless the world Jesus!”
Keeping faith in your family is a hard thing to do. As kids grow older more things will divert their attention. If we want to keep our family safe and our children prepared mothers and fathers need to lay the groundwork as soon as possible.
If you would like to share your creative tips on how to bring Christ into your family please e-mail me, even if you have just one idea or two.
Inspired by her children, author Tanya Kuza is the oldest of three daughters born to Mouwaffak and Lamis Sitto. This Chaldean American author shares her expertise in cultural parenting, teaching children and family values. Mrs. Kuza strives to encourage the community to be patient and understanding of the lives of children and their caregivers. The Chaldean author has her first book release titled, “Everyday Signs for the Newborn Baby” which can be pre-ordered in October 2007 online at http://www.inmotionbooks.com.. Comments or questions to Mrs. Tanya Kuza can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org in care of Tanya Kuza.