We do not keep them from our children; we recount them to the next generation. The praiseworthy deeds of the Lord and His strength, the wonders that He performed. Psalm 78:4
I’ve been a huge fan of the devotional Living Faith for years. There’s always some gem in the daily reflections that transforms how I view God and life, in all the right ways.
Recently, it was editor Terence Hegarty’s reflection from September 12th that impacted me deeply. In it, he shared some of his rules for raising his children. Rule #4 was: “Read them stories, especially at bed time. When they are older, tell them your story.”
It got me questioning how much of my story I’ve told my kids.
When our oldest child was born, my husband and I believed we could keep our same lifestyle and just merge our son into it. Without a second thought, we brought him to bars and events that were “kid-free.” It didn’t take long for us to figure out that wasn’t going to work for long.
Consequently, we swung the pendulum the other way. We shed layer after layer of our own interests and activities until our whole world revolved around our kids. It’s no wonder my kids know very little about who I was before them; I can barely remember her myself.
Now that my kids are older and more independent, I can see the disservice I’ve done to myself, and to them. The events from my past have shaped who I am. The hard-knocks I’ve endured have deepened my faith and reliance on God.
Jesus knew that stories could best illustrate the lessons He needed to teach. Reading those stories in the Bible, we’re able to connect and find something within them that leads us closer to God. Despite being two-thousand years old, those stories are timeless.
But there’s more to God’s story, and it’s how He continues to work in our lives. Not only does sharing our story help our kids see us as real people and not just an extension of them, but it gives them a living example of the wonders God can do with our joys and sorrows when we hand them over to Him. Sharing all this, at an age appropriate way, can inspire our kids to do the same.
Questions for Reflection:
* Do I share my story with my kids?
* What are the benefits of doing so?
This was such a powerful post Claire, thank you! I agree that we need to share our stories so that they can learn from our mistakes as well as our successes. As a homeschool mom, I make a point of teaching history lessons, so they can learn from the successes and failures of those who came before them. Who better to learn about successes and failures from than their own parents, grandparents, close family and friends. We all learn better through story and so rather than lecturing in the moment, maybe telling our stories on a regular basis will help them to pause and think before they make future decisions.
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Thanks so much, Jess! I love your point about extending the telling out to grandparents and close friends. Why limit our kids with just our own stories? The more wisdom our kids can get from the stories of main characters they know, the better!
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I have also been a fan of Living Faith for years. One of our family friends from growing up buys copies to hand out at our parish, and she always gives my mom an extra to pass on to me. I appreciate your thinking about the importance of sharing our stories. It is critical for our kids to see examples of what it looks like to live the faith, the process of becoming a disciple more and more.
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So excited to see your comment here, Amanda! I love how you furthered the idea by adding the fact that our kids can see the process of becoming a disciple if we share more. It’s so important for our kids to realize that discipleship isn’t something that was left to people two thousand years ago. We and our children are still being called to discipleship today. Thanks so much for that gem!
Claire, I’m enthralled by your post! Would you consider allowing me to post in on JoyAlive.net? As a guest author, it would be promoted widely on social media, especially on my new Facebook page, Your Catholic Story.
Nancy, I would be honored if you posted my piece on your blog and social media! Thank you! Please know how grateful I am that you read, subscribed and want to share my work. I couldn’t ask for more!!! Blessings to you!