As I’ve studied the Theology of the Body and pondered how to convey its concepts to my young children, I’ve focused on physical pursuits of virtue through the Corporal Works of Mercy. Young children are naturally active. They learn through play, by physically serving others, and by absorbing the physical actions of those they love and respect.
But in our busy, noisy world, it is also important that our children receive an education in stillness, silence, and contemplation. One of my sons often says, “I still can’t hear God talking to me” when we talk about prayer. The desire is there. Just as our children want loving guidance from their parents, so do they crave loving guidance from their Father in heaven.
How do we accomplish this? How do we help our kids to “hear God talking” to them?
Here are three ways that our family strives for a more prayerful existence:
- Maintain a peaceful, quiet home.
This may seem like a joke if you have several young children, but, regardless of family size and age, it is possible to cut down on the noise pollution in our homes. Limit your use of technology. Take advantage of quiet times of day (like nap time) to turn off TVs and radios and enjoy the silence. Encourage “inside voices”. And don’t forget visual pollution. This can create as much noise in our heads as audible noise. Simplify, de-clutter, and create routines that keep your home relatively picked up. Detach from those things that distract us from God.
2. Get outside!
Children love the outdoors. They love discovering the strange, purple flowers that finally bloomed. It thrills them to find a snake hole in the ground. They can toss rocks into a stream or poke holes in the sand for hours. The great outdoors is where they closely connect with their Great God.
3. Be A Listening Family
I picked up this tip from the video below, and I love it! Encourage your children to be the listener in the conversation. By learning to listen to other people, we can learn to listen to God.
What other ways can you think of to foster a prayerful atmosphere in your home?