Heroes for your kids other than from comic books

By Greg Zambrano, NOLA Catholic Parenting

In bringing my family and, especially, my kids closer to the church, I have found that I am not alone in guiding them. It is wonderful to have grandparents, friends and family nearby to pick up the kids from school or if one of them is burning up with a fever. Otherwise, you would have to leave work at the last minute, which usually is impossible because of commitments.

While that is a great blessing, just as important is the spiritual guidance from people who have gone through difficult situations and have risen victorious.

The community of saints is the divine assistance there for the faithful and, especially, our children. There are many ways that the saints have assisted me with my kids’ formation. The most common one is learning about the “Saint of the Day.”

Every day in the Catholic Church, we celebrate and remember someone who has died and has been named a saint. Through books, applications and web searches, you can easily find the daily saint and read or listen to his or her heroic and amazing life.

I like to listen to a web audio talk about the saints while I drop off the kids at school. Together, we can learn and think about the saints. If there are discussions about the saint in school, my children are prepared.

Encourage your children to pick a patron saint. Then, take your time while in a Catholic Church by walking around or sitting in the pew observing everything from top to bottom, and side to side.

When the church has cleared after Mass, slowly look around at the statues, windows, framed pictures, altar areas and relics on display. You’ll probably receive some questions from your children at this point. They want to connect what they know from Scripture readings to what they are seeing in two and three dimensions or feeling in their hearts.

For a child open to learning more, this is a way to see the faith come alive for them. Once they see the great heroes the saints became by choosing Christ, it is easier for them to attend Mass on Sunday, pick up and finish a rosary, help others and spend some time in adoration.

Parents can help children find their enthusiastic, burning desire for Christ by following the saints – our heroes who have laid a path to heaven before us.

Greg Zambrano was born in Colombia and raised in Miami, Florida. After serving in both the Marine Corps and the Air Force for 10 years, he became a stay-at-home father. He and his wife have been married for 17 years and have two daughters who attend Catholic school. They enjoy going to nearby parks and playgrounds, especially when the weather cools down. They also enjoy going to the movies, eating at restaurants and attending Mass on Saturday at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Shrine on State Street.

Please send comments to nolacatholicparenting@clarionherald.org. Visit the blog featuring three new posts a week and a podcast starting Oct. 1, at www.nolacatholicparenting.org.

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