As we begin Lent this year, what can parents do to influence their children’s spirituality?
It is important that parents spend time with their children, teaching them important life lessons: simplicity and showing concern. Through the parenting programme offered by the AFLC, parents are given the necessary knowledge and skills to interact effectively with their children.
Pope Francis in his 2018 Lenten message encourages us “to take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer. If, at times, the flame of charity seems to die in our own heart, know that this is never the case in the heart of God! He constantly gives us a chance to begin loving anew.”
The shaping of the will of children is a responsibility of parents that is presenting certain desirable ways of thinking and acting as children develop and grow, foregoing a desire to fit into society or some pleasurable activity for the common good of others.
For example, by participating as a family for one hour in the Day of Prayer for the Country hosted by the Evangelization Commission on February 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St Charles of Borromeo, Tunapuna. Another way could be attending the Way of the Cross in one’s parish.
Engaging in active methods of dialogue with sensitivity and language that children can understand is important in moral formation, such as encouraging your child to share his lunch or snack with a student who has none. While the target audience is youth and young adults, families are encouraged to participate in the Generation S 24-hour Lenten fast, under the theme Sacrifice for Something Bigger.
Families are encouraged to pray, fast and give alms for an increase in vocations to priesthood, religious and consecrated life. Alms collected will be given to the Dominican Sisters ministry to God’s Beloved Children in Arima.
Pope Francis in his 2018 Lenten message states that: “When we give alms, we share in God’s providential care for his children. If through me God helps someone today, will He not tomorrow provide for my own needs? For no one is more generous than God.” Contact us to get your fasting cards.
Teaching children to put themselves in other people’s shoes and acknowledging the hurt they cause others needs to be encouraged. Also seeking forgiveness and repairing the harm done to others, though challenging at times, allows for personal freedom to flourish and children will come to appreciate the importance of growing up in a family.
The practice of the Examination of Conscience can be introduced as part of night prayer, while decreasing social media and WhatsApp time by ten minutes. The development of good habits is vital, through parents’ example and teaching, of using the words, “Please”, “Thank you”, and “I am sorry” strengthens the will and aids in building moral conduct.