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7 Ways to Put God First in Your Family

There are many beautiful traditions and devotions that each family may adopt according to what draws them most. Our family is Catholic, so our traditions follow that, but any family can take steps to make God present in the home at all times.

1. Create a Prayer Corner

Whenever setting up a new home, my husband and I have reserved a personal prayer space. This could be something as simple as an oversized chair with a lamp and a basket of prayer books beside it. Few things fill a mother’s heart as walking into the family room first thing in the morning and finding the nine-year-old already cozying up with her Picture Bible.

2. Read about Christian Role Models

Before we begin daily lessons, I gather the children in the living room and read a brief biography for the saint of the day. Although I have been asked, “Can we read about people who haven’t died?” the kids have grown to appreciate these stories of heroic virtue from citizens of every country, social class, and time period. 

3. Pray Wherever You Can

After making a morning offering, we begin the day’s tasks. When my older son began attending school away from home, the two of us simply said prayers in the car. Sometimes he was sleepy, but he would usually join me in reciting the rhyme: 

“Dear Lord, we offer up to You today all our work and all our play. All we do and all we say, we offer up to You today.”

4. Remember Our Loved Ones are Watching Us

Each room in our home displays a cross and various holy pictures according to our children’s namesakes or special saints. I also set out photos of past relatives who are watching over us. Such mementos call to mind those cheering for us as we fight the Good Fight. 

Such keepsakes also remind us to remain virtuous as we converse with friends, read a book, watch television, or browse the Internet. Teens experience more immediate guilt over wrongdoing when they remember that Grandma is looking after them. I discovered this when entering my teen son’s room and noticing that he had turned around his grandmother’s picture… and had hidden a broken laptop under his bed.

5. Confess Your Sins

Indeed, keeping God central also entails emphasizing to our children that we want to maintain a good relationship with each other and the Lord. This calls for parents and children to frequently say, “I’m sorry,” and “I’ll do better.” We parents must model frequent confession of our sins to God. 

6. Bless Your Spaces

We also use numerous small antidotes to thwart spiritual “germs.” My husband frequently blesses the rooms of the house with holy water, especially after nightmares. And, when we announced that family rosary would be said in the car during our travels, I happily observed that several of my kids typically kept a set of beads with them. 

7. Pray as a Family

Praying a daily family rosary together has been a great blessing. However, sibling squabbles still creep up during the holiest of endeavors. Older siblings can hold strict opinions on proper reverence, such as when our oldest son (then 16) informed us we should kneel for the odd mysteries and stand for the even ones. It worked for us until another baby came along. When the youngest is misbehaving, someone volunteers to settle the baby/toddler in another room.  

Our family has committed to meditating on this prayer nightly. We resisted for many years prior, as bedtime often seemed chaotic and whiny. Plus, not everyone is home every night. Once a family dedicates themselves to the practice, however, they usually find a way to fit it in. We found it best to integrate the prayer into our evening routine—always after dinner cleanup and before bedtime preparations.

Beginning with a short, spiritual song helps everyone focus. 

The toddler is still too young to recite the prayers with us, but she knows to sit quietly and look at her Christian board books. Though she seems to not pay much attention, the two-year-old darling was one day seen setting her baby doll on the couch and instructing her: “Here’s how you sing….” Evidently, she is quickly learning—and is already teaching her favorite companions—the sweet practice of putting God first.

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