Truth be told: Faith is easier instilled in children than learned by adults
In light of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation and the recent death of our local bishop, I have been thinking a lot about my religion and my faith. We are Catholic. Two very devout Roman Catholics raised me in the church. Church has always been my place of peace and serenity. God has always been my source of inner peace. Whenever life was too much to bear with all of its secular problems; relationship woes, financial mishaps, or pain of any kind, my faith in God was a source of reconciliation. Even when doubt was so big that it almost suffocated me, faith brought me back.
The stained glass of the church, the comforting smell of the incense burning, the familiarity of the routine of the ritual of mass was and still is complete sanctuary from the world for me.
My husband on the other hand was not. He was baptized as a baby into the Catholic Church but he'd never attended a mass until we were planning our wedding. I wanted to be married in the Catholic Church and I knew when we had children, I wanted them to be raised in the faith. After all, I wasn't keeping them from anything. I was giving them faith in God. I was giving them the gift of comfort when there was no reason or solution to pain and loss.
Read more ¿Qué Más?:Truth be told: You CAN still have a spicy sex life if you have kids!
We are raising our daughters in the Catholic faith. They have gone to mass since they were born and attend Catholic school. My 7-year-old is about to celebrate the sacrament of first communion. I remember her coming home at 4 years old and wanting to say the prayer before dinner. I remember her coming home as a 6-year-old with a vile of holy water and setting up her first prayer station to pray for her father as he traveled back and forth for work. Her sister, now 5, comes home and tells me the stories she learns from the bible and the moral lessons that she learns. I am proud of them.
They already know that if their heart is hurting or their mind is worrying, whatever Mommy and Daddy cannot fix, they can give to God and they will be provided what they need. Maybe not always what they want but always what they need. God will take care of their needs. Metaphorically when they are too weak to walk, when the pain is too much to bear, God will carry them. Their faith will lift them up.
This blind faith has been instilled from the time they were born. Faith is the foundation that they are building their life on. It was in place before science or reason was learned. Just like me, they have their faith to comfort them; to take sanctuary in when logic fails to provide salvation. Faith is something we do with our heart, logic is with our head. Sometimes we need to let our heart lead because logic leaves us wanting.
I've learned from watching my husband struggle to learn faith that after a certain age faith in the unseen is hard to learn without a miracle in our own lives. It's like trying to convince an adult to believe in Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny. It gets even harder when you belong to a religion that is surrounded by scandal. But what many fail to understand is that faith in God has nothing to do with man. Men are fallible. Faith is not.
Personally, no matter what religion you are, I think waiting to let your children come to faith on their own is a parent's choice but you may be failing them by not instilling faith in their hearts as children. I don't believe that in a world of skepticism that the blind faith of a child can ever be learned as an adult. Sure an adult can develop a belief in a religion and in God but it will be with trepidation and skepticism because we are taught that things need to be seen and proven to be believed or we are being a fool.
Image via Flickr/ Gabriela Camerotti