I remember the first time I realized that part of teaching my children was going to include teaching them how to converse. My oldest daughter was just starting to try to have conversations with us at the dinner table each night. At first, it started with her just talking over us. Then after telling her she should ask questions, it switched to a single question over and over, “What did you do yesterday?” Why yesterday and why always the same question? I still don’t know. However, in that moment I realized that we would have to coach her a bit in having a conversation. If prayer is a conversation with God, we will have to coach our kids in the same way...
We hear about prayer in our churches all the time. We hear our priests preach about its importance. We hear reminders to pray regularly. We hear invitations to communal prayer opportunities within our parish setting. We are encouraged to come and pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament. However, amidst all of this talk of prayer, many find themselves asking questions like, “what exactly is prayer” and even more importantly as parents, “how do you teach a child to pray.”
The applesauce might not have really hit the fan, but looking at our kitchen floor, you would have thought it had. Earlier that day I had posted my previous blog on 3 Tips for Finding Joy in Family Life, and I had been thinking of a way to share practical examples of how the three tips can be lived out. Suddenly God had given me a perfect opportunity with a floor covered in applesauce.
Life can be crazy! As I try to sit down and write this blog for what feels like the tenth time, I have a 9 month old crying at my feet to be held, a 3 year old asking for help with toys, a 5 year old calling down from upstairs that she doesn’t want to go potty and brush her teeth alone, and to top it off a random beeping somewhere in the house that is driving me insane. The vocation of a parent can be a challenge to say the least, yet in it all, we are called to be JOYFUL.
Zack Hinger is a husband and father of 3 girls. He worked in parish ministry for over 8 years in all ages of formation from preschool through adulthood. He has a B.A. from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Theology and Catechetics. His passions are God, his family, and helping others journey towards a closer relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.