Sunday, August 14, 2011

Training Happy Hearts: A Call to Faith Formation for Young Children

September 2010
Over a year ago, something in my church bulletin moved me to begin tapping away at my keyboard as a response to a call to share whatever time and talent I might have with fellow parishioners.  But, somehow, what I began writing never got any further than my computer hard drive.  Today, that is changing.  Recent readings and prayer have reminded me of the whisper to share that I heard over a year ago and have encouraged me to embrace my call as Mom as well as that of Parish Community Member through offering this series, Training Happy Hearts in Young Children, which I hope others might enjoy. 

So, let’s begin:

Faith Formation from the Earliest Years

Faith formation.  We often think of it as commencing when a child is school-aged, preparing for First Reconciliation and First Communion.  But, truly, it starts much sooner.  God loves and knows each of us from before our births (Psalm 139:13) straight throughout the “gray hair” years of our lives (Isaiah 46:3-4)  Thus, it only follows that we are invited to love and know Him back, continually building our relationship with Him from conception through old age.

In our youngest years, while some of our faith may grow spontaneously, much of it can be enhanced and guided by the gentle hands of the adults in our lives.  And with this in mind, it such that I -- a fellow parishioner, mere Mommy and certainly no expert (as anyone who has seen my children boisterously escaping the pew rather than praying in it at many Masses can attest) -- extend an invitation to all in my parish community, as well as anyone across cyberspace, to journey with me in exploring faith formation for our youngest parishioners. 

Let's Share the Call

In the weeks and months to come, I hope to share some of my own ideas and resources for guiding faith formation of the young children in our lives – be they our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews or simply children we are acquainted with.  Likewise, I hope to hear from some of you with your wisdom, questions, responses...  In doing so, perhaps we can begin both personal reflection and open dialogue on how to train up our children in the way they should go so that they may have happy hearts, united with God.

I welcome comments and responses and will even create a regular link-up/blog hop for this if there is interest.  Let me know!


kate said...

i think this is FANTASTIC! i would really enjoy sharing FF ideas and practices. great idea!


Martianne said...


Thanks for commenting. I am glad someone wants to do this, too. Awesome!


Anonymous said...

I would love to be included in this dialogue. My son (3yrs) is starting to ask some tough questions ie. Is Jesus coming tonight?

Martianne said...

My children ask those tough questions quite often, too. I never know quite how to respond, so I say a quick prayer and then do. One thought about answering if Jesus is coming today would be to pcik someone who comes to your home sometimes and say how you don;t know when that person will stop by, but that we always like to be ready to welcome them. We don;t know when Jesus is coming either, but we want to be ready to welcome Him. Or, maybe, go for the warm, sweet approach I sometimes do: 'Jesus is already here. Do you know where?...Right here in your heart and my heart." Good luck and let's keep bringing ideas, questions, tips and tales to one another about this topic.

EarthMother said...

Hi, I'm Nik, I live in the UK and have a and a 2 year old, we are practicing Catholics and participate in the ecumenical church whenever it arises (Church toddler groups etc). I have some challenges, one of them being that my 5 year old son's father (we split way before he was born) actively prevents him from celebrating at a mass where there is a liturgy class. I teach and talk about God at home but it would be great to have like minds to discuss things with. I really like your blog. Cheers, Nik

Diana said...

I would love to discuss some ideas! I have a 4.5 year old and twin 2 year olds, and I feel like I need more help in this area. I really love your blog; I've found a lot of helpful practical tips for everyday. Thank you,

Martianne said...

Diana, I think we all can use more help in this area. Thankfully, God graces us with each other, through prayer and with lots of resources so we can get that help! Please feel free to post questions, comments, idea or links so the other folks reading and I can attend to your particular needs. Also, I am glad you find so many practical tips here. :)


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