Does anyone else have a hard time starting something new? Please tell me yes, because starting new routines always gets me! Even if it’s something I’m excited about, sometimes taking that first step – taking that leap of faith – is really hard. For some reason my husband cannot read my mind (I’m floored that someone hasn’t invented some sort of hat husbands can wear that just tells them what their wives are thinking!), so I have to get him on board and as much as I love my husband and know he will support me 100%, sometimes I still feel kind of self-conscious. I mean, what if he thinks this is silly? So I have to pluck up the courage and be vulnerable and talk to him about whats on my mind and heart. And even then, sometimes it still feels like I have a hard time making that leap of faith to try something new even if I know that it is going to be a positive change.
From talking to other moms and dads I’ve heard of so many different obstacles parents face when starting to live the liturgical year at home. And I get it! Maybe your kids are older and you’re afraid they will think it’s silly to be starting this now. Maybe you’re just really busy and you have no idea WHEN you are going to find the time. Maybe you really don’t know what to say.
Here are a few ideas to help you tackle those obstacles and take that first step!
START TALKING ABOUT IT
If you’re really struggling, a super simple baby step would be to simply start talking about it. Whether it be talking about the faith in general or more actively living the liturgical year as a family. Talk to your loved ones about your desires! Tell them that you are thinking about learning more about our faith as a family. Ask them what sort of topics they would be interested learning about. Start planting seeds. Make faith something you talk about in your home, so that when you start doing more activities and celebrating the feasts (and the fasts!) it won’t seem so out of the blue.
Do you have small children? One of our first steps has been to have religious themed toys for our kids to play with. We have these little saint peg dolls that have the saint’s name and feast date on the bottom, we have TONS of religious-themed books and toys like the Fisher Price Little People Nativity. All of these things help provide a naturally occurring context in which we can talk to the kids about who Jesus is, the lives of the saints, what happens at Mass, etc.
David playing with his peg dolls. Didn’t you know they drove John Deere tractors?!
TAG IT ONTO SOMETHING YOU DO EVERY DAY
Personally, I’ve found that one of the easiest things to do is to tag whatever you want to implement on to something that you already consistently do every day.
For example, when I wanted to start saying the morning offering every day I made it a part of my makeup routine. I taped a copy of the Morning Offering to my bathroom mirror and I say it while I’m doing my makeup.
I also have this awesome mug from Hatch Prints on Etsy that has the morning offering right on it, so I can’t forget! (She doesn’t always have them in stock, but if you follow her on Instagram you can get notified and get in on the preorder) It’s awesome and I’m obsessed with it.
Right now we’re working on saying a Children’s version of the Morning Offering with the kids every morning. I made a printable to hang in their bedroom next to the door. Feel free to download it for use with your own children!
Mealtimes are another awesome place to tag onto – you eat every day! Start saying a decade of the Rosary at Lunch. Is lunch a crazy time in your household? Read the readings out loud to your children. Encourage them to actively listen. Stop in the middle and ask your kids what they think Jesus was thinking or feeling or ask them to re-tell you what just happened. At the end of the reading, do a modified version of Lectio Divina and ask them what stood out to them. What do they think Jesus could be saying to them? Even young children can participate in this type of activity.
Car time is the entire basis for our Understanding the Gospel activities that we provide every week. Everyone is stuck in the car! Let’s use that time and discuss what the readings were about. Ask what Father talked about in his homily. The first few weeks, your kids may not remember to pay attention, but if you are consistent, they will eventually start to remember that Mom and Dad are going to ask about the readings in the car, so I’d better pay attention so I have something to say!
ADVENT – THE LITURGICAL NEW YEAR
Do you feel like you need a kickstart? Or maybe you’ve been putting it off because you want the timing to be perfect? What about Advent?
There are a couple of reasons why Advent would be a good time of year to start. First of all, it is the beginning of the Liturgical Calendar. So I guess you could call it Liturgical New Years! What about establishing a few Liturgical New Years Resolutions? Goals for your family’s faith life, for your own faith life, or both.
The second reason Advent is a great time to start is purely practical – there are TONS of awesome resources and ideas out there on how to celebrate Advent as a Family. You could do a Jesse Tree, the Christmas Novena, an Advent Wreath, and so much more. A quick search on Pinterest will wield plenty of results. But if you want something even quicker, I’ve already done some of the work for you by creating a Pinterest board with some great ideas, https://www.pinterest.com/linseyhoard/advent/.
David with the gifts St. Nicholas left in his stocking on St. Nicholas’ feast day.
Now please remember, I’m not recommending that you start doing all of these things. Start with one or two, pick up another as it starts to feel less overwhelming. I believe in you!
Let me know in the comments, how did you start living the liturgical year at home? What experiences, conversations, or activities did you first implement?