So, I wondered if this would happen one day, and that day is upon us. Henry has been giving me a tough time lately about going to church. He's gotten rather whiny about the whole thing, and I've had to really prod him along to get dressed and out the door to go to Mass.
Luckily, even though my husband doesn't often accompany us to Mass, he supports me in all that my Catholicism entails, including raising our children Catholic. He never undermines my efforts with Henry and questions why Henry should have to go. He simply comes over, tells Henry that it's time for church, and helps him on with his coat. And for that, I'm very grateful.
But the whole thing has gotten me to thinking. My job is even tougher because my husband and I can't do things together to encourage our children in the faith. That job lies with me. And of course, I worry (because I do that so very well): am I a bad Catholic mother? What am I doing wrong?
I send my son to Catholic school, plus I've *always* taken him to Mass. I've introduced him to traditions that he enjoys such as lighting votive candles, using holy water to bless himself and making the sign of the cross, using an Advent wreath and Advent calendar, and Lenten activities. When he was younger we always read out of his children's Bible and now he's very familiar with some key passages. I taught him his basic prayers, but I know I should be better about praying with him regularly. I just get tied up at bedtime with the baby and so Mike handles getting Henry into bed.
So, the nitty gritty. What can I do to make church less "boring" for him? I sympathize, because when I was a child I thought Mass was boring too. And I felt like my mom "made" me go, and I don't want my kids to feel that way. Maybe it's inevitable no matter what, I don't know. Because I am going to "make them go" while they are living in my house. However, I want them to feel a bond to their faith and make it their own, and thus feel a healthy curiosity about it and enjoy it. So, what can I do?
I try to explain things about the Mass to him when they come up. We light candles after Mass whenever he asks. This past Sunday I was desperate and so grabbed an illustrated children's book of the saints that Anne had in her Christmas stocking (one of the featured saints is St. Anne) and that lured him out the door. And he actually loved it. It's this one and it's quite nice. He seemed quite taken with St. Joan of Ark and St. Michael, and looked through the pictures for most of Mass. As long as it's spiritual reading, I don't mind him having books at Mass. I also ordered him a sample copy of Magnifikid to see if that will help. It's $35 a year I believe for a subscription, and I wanted to make sure he'd use it before committing to a full subscription. I ordered myself a sample copy of Magnificat for good measure. I used to subscribe, and liked it, but after a time I found that I didn't use it to its full potential and I couldn't justify paying the $40 annual subscription price anymore. I thought maybe I was ready to try it again. But I digress.
So, we'll see what becomes of these ideas. I keep telling him that one hour per week to give to God is the least we can do for all that He does for us, but that doesn't seem to be enthusing him at all. If anybody else has any ideas, have at it, I'm all ears. :)