Over the years our family has enjoyed multiple times camping at the beach. With three energetic boys, we found camping to be our favorite type of vacation. What could be better than tents, sticks, rocks, and campfires?
During one such camping experience, we were climbing some rocks at the shoreline. As was typical, I was pulling up the rear as everyone else climbed quickly and with steady feet. With a mom’s sense of impending danger, I barked out a quick, “Be careful so you don’t fall!”
My youngest did not skip a beat. With his high-pitched, 6-year-old voice, he shouted gleefully, “I don’t care if I die. I just want to go on the adventure!”
I chuckle even now as I think back on that memory. I can still see his little body climbing swiftly up the rocks. His words were so potent that I can still remember them 12 years later.
The youthful cry for adventure. So energizing. So compelling. I try to let that be my heart’s cry for adventure even today.
In addition to camping and rock climbing, we wanted to introduce our boys to the greatest adventure of all, that of following Jesus. From their earliest days, we would pray with our boys and bless them nightly.
After being trained in Spiritual Direction by Benedictine communities, we found the prayer liturgy to be a restorative and sustaining rhythm for our spiritual lives.
When the time was right, we wanted to make time to share this life of prayer with our sons. So, when our sons were ages two, five and eight, we established an evening time of prayer with them.
To me, the climax of our family prayer time was always the blessing. No matter what had happened that day, our hearts, our eyes and our love were always toward our boys.
Our sons received a blessing from us every night, no matter what. That is a foundation of stability and grace that cannot be underestimated.
Many of us have children in our lives. If you are parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or godparent, we hope this week’s free resource will help you as you seek to bless the children you love.
We want to help our children grow spiritually. Sometimes, however, we can have a hard time figuring out how to help and what to do.
The Family Prayer free resource (download below) that we offer this week developed over the course of many months as we discovered, among other things, some activities that worked as well as needs we hadn’t anticipated.
One more note about our experience—and may it be a real encouragement for anyone with young kids. Remember, when we began this family liturgy with our sons, they were two, five, and eight years old. Our very active youngest son would typically be moving around the room or standing on his head on the couch. However, they all participated and grew to love most of all the opportunity to pray for friends and the blessings from Mom and Dad.
Whether you are a parent or not, we encourage you to be a source of blessing to those around you. And feel free to share this resource with those in your life who have young children.
May God be with you as you shepherd and bless the children in your life.