Monday night, the LSU Tigers play in the National Championship Game. Those who know me know that I am an avid LSU fan. Those who do not know me, trust me when I tell you, “I bleed purple and gold.” There was no doubt that when Chris and I became parents that we would pass our love for the LSU Tigers onto our children. As infants, they were given gifts by our family and friends, also strong members of the LSU community, such as LSU sippy cups, pacifiers, blankets, and clothes. Chris and I have taught them our cheers, our pre-game rituals, and our traditions. Our children understand what purple and gold stands for. They see a tiger, and they say, “Geaux Tigers,” before even thinking of saying “roar.” They have experienced the community of Louisiana State University fans that occurs instantly when two LSU fans see each other. In essence, my children have been fully immersed in this way of being.
As parents, it is our responsibility to be the primary educators of our children’s faith also. This means that Chris and I are charged, as parents, to share our faith with our kids with the same passion that we share our love for LSU. Why does it feel easier sometimes to share our love of a team rather than to share our love of our faith? We, too, as Catholics have rituals and traditions. We, too, have a Catholic community that extends far beyond where we live and creates camaraderie between people instantly.
I think it feels easier sometimes because sharing my love of a team does not require sharing deep matters of my heart. With passing on the understanding of God to my children, I am asked to attempt to put words to something that matters deeply to me, an understanding that has evolved and deepened over time. It is hard for me to describe what I know within.
Thankfully, our Church captures the depth of our hearts in outward expressions of love and of grace. I realize I do not have to lean only on my words, but on the rituals, sacraments, and traditions that also express God, who ultimately transcends all words.
So while we will continue to expose our kids to all things LSU, we will remain focused on fully immersing our children in our faith, to expose them to our sacraments, to our rituals, and our traditions, and to introduce them to men and women living authentic, sacred lives. Our hope is that one day they will be as passionate about their faith as they are about their favorite team!
Great reflection, Becky — thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Jonathan! I am sure you have much to teach us on passing on your faith to children also.
Becky, only on the second read did I get what I think was your joke. “Passing” on the faith! What, no running game? Special teams???
Glad you “caught” it!
Bob, it is totally OK you do not use LSU in your examples. What a great idea to include this in the pre-Baptismal classes Chris and I teach!
Lynda, I would agree with you also about the quiet moments spent with a child. It is in those moments I find that my kids often end up teaching me a good bit about life and faith also. Thank you for your encouragement!
Becky, thank you. In my own experience the passing on of faith occurs in quiet moments spent alone with a child. Last night I had the privilege of sharing with my little granddaughter who had a bad dream that, when I was little and still today, when afraid I talk to Jesus. I hope I have planted a seed. It also occurs as your children see your actions in everyday living. All that you do helps to pass along the faith.
Becky, thank you for your words of wisdom! I teach pre-Baptismal classes and I always use this very example (not LSU, though, sorry) to show parents how natural it is to pass along their faith to their children, just as they do for their loyalty to a team.