Guest Post: Growing Up in Faith

Today, we have a guest post by Britt Leigh, who has contributed to KidsFaithGarden.com before. Welcome, Britt! I’ve known Britt for many years and I am happy to host her! Brittany gives 3 solid examples of how growing up in her Catholic-Christian faith led her to make better choices as an adult. Take it away, Britt… Signed, Nicole Lataif

Growing Up In Faith

Hello! The first thing you should know about me is that I don’t have kids. I just write about them and for them. My first novel for teens, Ten Commandments for Kissing Gloria Jean, is all about choices and how girls can tap into their faith to help them make the right ones. When I tell moms and aunts and grandmas about the book at sales tables, I actually hear that the little girls in their lives at 12, 10, and even 8 (!) years of age are already talking crushes and “boyfriends” and “going out.” Even if your daughters are not there yet, I believe that you can equip them with the confidence and skills they will need to make good choices a habit. My experience? Growing up!

Though I did not consciously recognize my faith and its moral teachings as the reason I made good choices and avoided bad ones, formation in a personal belief in God and respect for my religion from a very early age meant that as I was gradually exposed to more and deeper teachings, I accepted them and made them my own.

Here are some quick and easy tips to help your children recognize their faith:

  1. Encourage interest and encounter at the Mass/service with children: Once I was starting to learn to read, my mom allowed me at 4 years of age to thumb through the pages of the missalette. And though it’s hard for me to carry a tune, I was never shushed in my attempts to sing. Loving—and being encouraged to love—my faith aided me in the years ahead, when choices got more complicated and other things in secular society competed for my attention.

  2. Pray together with children: One treasured memory I have is of my whole family in the living room praying a Rosary together. I might have been 7 or 8. We had not done this before, but we all knew the prayers. I was enthralled by the intimacy of this gathering. Young children love family time and getting to participate at the same level. Though we did not keep that practice up, as I grew up, those whole-family experiences grounded me and instilled in me an appreciation for my family and their influence in my life.

  3. Introduce your daughters (and sons!) to faith role models: One thing I wish I had growing up was more knowledge of the saints. As the daughter of a teacher, I definitely grew up with role models—characters in the books I read—especially in the upper elementary grades. For pre-schoolers, there are not many picture books that exemplify girls with good values or making good choices. But there are picture book treatments of the saints and collections of saint’s stories. Yes, introduce your daughters toAnne of Green Gables and Laura of the Little House on the Prairie when the time is right. But also let them know about Saints Catherine and Teresa of Avila and Thèrése of Lisieux. And Saint Gianna and Blessed Mother Teresa and Saint Bakhita.

Growing up, I believe my parents laid a good foundation of faith. This foundation helped me grow into a young woman equipped to make good choices.

About Britt Leigh

Britt Leigh is the author of the teen novel Ten Commandments for Kissing Gloria Jean and the foreword for Teens Share the Mission. Both books are published by Pauline Books & Media. Her writing has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Middle School, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Getting into College, and kidsfaithgarden.com. She holds a Certificate of Catechesis from the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization (Boston) and a certificate in chastity/abstinence training through the Center for Relationship Education. She blogs at brittleighbooks.com and for young women at proverbialgirlfriend.wordpress.com.

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