It really can be the littlest of things that make a difference in raising our young ones in the faith at home. Here are a few simple phrases you can say to your child (or children) to make God present to them every day.
- Jesus loves you. What a beautiful truth! Jesus loves you – always and no matter what. He will never stop loving you, and His love brought you into existence! You think mom and dad love you a lot? (We do!) But guess what? God loves you even more.
- …and He rejoices being with you. Not only does Jesus love you, He wants to be with you all the time. His love isn’t distant; it’s right here, all around you. He wants to spend time with you – in prayer, in work, and in play – because He loves your company and because you are so special to Him.
- God has big plans for you! His plans for you are huge…He wants you to be a saint! He wants you to be “Saint _______”, and live as one of his closest friends and followers – a disciple – here on earth, and then spend forever in heaven with Him someday.
- Your guardian angel is always with you. God gave you a special companion: your guardian angel. And your angel is always with you – to help protect you and watch over you when you are scared or sad, or to join in your happiness and in your prayer time.
- Thank you, God! (This one is not said to your child, but with your child every day to cultivate a spirit of awe and thankfulness for God’s creation and His many gifts and blessings.) After a fun playdate, we say – “Thank you, God, for such a fun time with friends!” Before a meal – “Thank you, Jesus, for this food to nourish our bodies.” When your child notices and makes a point to talk about a beautiful flower – “Thank you, God, for making flowers for us to enjoy!” In prayer – “Thank you, Jesus, for our family [mentioning parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.].”
In our house, I usually find a way to incorporate these basic phrases (in bold above) with my little ones, currently ages 3 and 1, in routine ways and times every day, so these simple truths can plant the seeds of faith from the start. For example, before my almost 3-year-old son’s rest time, when I kiss him before leaving the room, I say, “I love you, Jesus loves you, Mama Mary loves you, and your guardian angel is always with you.” Often, I can’t finish the phrase before he chimes in to say the rest!
Day to day, I may switch up exactly what I say, when I say it, or how much I elaborate on the basic thought, but each day I try to sneak these truths in at some point. All throughout the day, we encourage the kids to thank Jesus for things or people that are bringing them joy (and as they gets older I hope to help them better understand why we thank Jesus for things that make us sad or hurt, too).
Alter your tone or diction with your older children or grandchildren as needed, but find a way to still communicate these basic truths often; even teenagers need to hear that Jesus loves them, that He wants to spend time with them, that He has a great plan for their life, that they have a guardian angel at their side, and that we have much to be thankful to God for.
Whether it’s these or some other important Christian truths, share the goodness, truth, and beauty of the faith in some simple, spoken way to your kids every day.