When a good friend proposed the idea of a weekly prayer group to our shared circle of friends, I jumped on the idea. My confession is that the eagerness I felt had less to do with the idea of praying and more to do with the thought of seeing this group of women regularly. We’re in a long-distance series of friendships, spanning two time zones and four states, and the prospect of having a particular reason to meet through video chatting every Tuesday thrilled me.
Since I first learned the concept of goal setting in fourth grade P.E. class, I’ve been obsessed. New Years, birthdays, beginnings of seasons, the first day of the month: you name the new beginning and I’m there crafting a page of resolutions, a bucket list or a series of S.M.A.R.T. goals around it. I like goal setting because it helps me manage my time in a way that aligns with my values, and it provides me with positive ends to work towards and a sense of accomplishment when I’ve met those ends.
Most Catholic parents would agree on the importance of praying with our sons and daughters. The Church teaches us that we are the primary faith educators of our children, and what better way to teach them about God than by talking to God? That being said, praying with young kids can be difficult at times. It’s hard to get toddlers and small children to sit still for thirty seconds let alone engage in a focused dialogue with an invisible God, and it can be tempting to put off lessons about prayer until our kids are a little bit older.
During my daughter’s early weeks of life, I started to read her poetry as I fed her. I’d like to say it was because I knew she found the sound of my voice soothing, or because I hoped to instill in her a love of literature from an early age or because I believe that vocabulary formation begins in these first, tender weeks. These things may all be true, but that’s not why I fill her sweet little ears with metered verse. No, I read her poetry to pass the time.
Honoring the sabbath is a challenge for us all, but it is particularly acute for our busy teens. By introducing them to small practices like these, we can help them lead Christ-centered lives.