Monday, January 18, 2016

January 2016 Bulletin: Little Sponges

Lead article from the January 2016 bulletin, online now.

As a father sometimes I wonder if my kids pay attention when I speak.  As much as I try to teach them how to be good people and strong Catholics, most of the time I feel like my words just go right past them without slowing down.  It's always reassuring when they surprise me by doing or saying something that supports my teachings.  I bring this up because there were a couple examples this month where my kids surprised me and it makes me think about how many other things I do and say (good and bad) are being absorbed by them without my knowledge.

One of my biggest challenges and frustrations is trying to get my kids to sit still and pay attention during mass.  Most times I just accept the fact that I cannot make them listen and just try to keep them upright and in the same pew.  But every once in a while when you least expect it they surprise you.  I went to mass with Avril this month and it was just the two of us.  Fr. Ellis was giving his homily and I noticed that she was looking down at her feet fidgeting not seeming to be paying attention at all.  Later that evening she was playing on the laptop and came up to show me a picture.  It was the photo “Burst of Joy”, which Fr Ellis had talked about during his homily.  It really surprised me because I thought she was completely disconnected while he was talking.

This month we also began working through the Jeff Cavins Gen2Rev program.  This is a new book that the Church is piloting with the 4th grade students.  It's basically a bible timeline for kids that is meant to get fathers to read the bible to their children for 10 min every day.  I committed to doing the 6 month program with Avril.  My plan was to try to get at least her and Owen (2nd Grade) to do this with me.  Honestly I was expecting some whining and complaining especially after the first couple times.  Not only have they not complained but they ask questions and really enjoy those 10 minutes of faith education.  It isn't just Avril and Owen that have come to enjoy that time, their older siblings have not missed an evening if they were home.  I am truly surprised how much these kids are interested in their faith.

Regardless of what they communicate back to us, these children are little sponges.  They pick up on things we say and do even when we don't think they are paying attention.  That is why it is our responsibility to lead by example as strong Catholic men.  How do you expect your children to be serious about their faith if you are not?  Remember, God is not the only one watching everything you do.

God Bless,
Joe VanHoorik
Grand Knight