I was taken aback for a moment. How did my little girl go from dramatizing Our Lady to thinking about a day when she might foster her baby brother?
Then, I remembered that some of the books we have been reading with our ABC Advent plans had included parents that had passed on. She was simply processing those stories and reaching out with compassion to share her love for me and her brother.
I took my daughter's hand and explained that I didn't plan on going to heaven anytime soon, but that if I did, I would still be with her and her siblings just as Our Mother is here for us. I would be in her heart. I then thanked her for warming my heart by volunteering that she would be God's hands of love for her baby brother here on earth should I ever not be able to be so.
With that, she happily went back to playing Mary as I snuggled "her baby Jesus" to sleep for his nap.
Me? I reflected on why she might have such a strong affection for Our Mother Mary.
Introducing Young Children to Our Mother
1. Sing: One of the first things I did when my children were born was pray with them. With my own tune, I sang the Our Father and the Hail Mary as I held them close to me not long after delivery. Since then, I have continued to sing them these payers on occasion. I have also noted my daughter singing the Hail Mary to her baby on her own when she is trying to soothe him. There is something about song that speaks to children.
2. Look: At a very young age, I began pointing out images and statues of Mary to my children and asking them if they would like to say a prayer to our Mother in Heaven. I also have included many picture books with Mary in our reading basket. Being able to envision Mary helps the children develop a relationship to her.
3. Play: My children enjoy playing with me, their earthly mother, and so it follows that although they cannot directly play with their Heavenly Mother, they might enjoy playing with the idea of her. Thus, I incorporate Mary-themed play into our lives through such things as the 3-Part Life of Mary Cards I made, Mary Spoon Puppets we made as a part of a Mother's Day gift and art projects like the one we did for the Assumption. Play is the work, and often the language, of young children. It is a wonderful way to help them get to know Our Mother.
This week, as we near the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I wonder how others bring their young children close to Our Mother. I invite you to share your thoughts and resource tips on this topic, as well as one other ways you train your children up with happy hearts through a comment or linking up.
Thank you to the folks who linked up last week.
Holly's church new year hats, with printable template included, were far cuter than our paper ones were and her Advent book baskets for children and adults sure had some wonderful titles. The way Heidi is preparing her home for Christmas is lovely. Colleen reviewed a helpful Advent resource book and Mama Hooper incorporated some of the ideas she found here into her own family's celebration of the season.