Spirituality is a journey taken one step at a time. You never know--some of these ideas may become habits you’ll carry into the next year, and many more to come. Here are some suggestions for growing in holiness throughout the year.
• Cultivate a sense of gratitude. Greet each child with a smile in the morning, thanking God aloud for the gift that a child is. Summer offers innumerable examples of the glory and abundance of God’s creative genius. Recognize the wonder of a sprouting seed and the beauty of full bloom. Model for your children an appreciation of God’s gifts.
• Rededicate yourselves to mealtime prayer. Whether it’s a picnic at the park or hotdogs on the run, begin with bowed heads and thanksgiving. Light a candle. (A citronella candle can do double duty: God is present; bugs aren’t!) Your prayer can be a simple ritual like holding hands, saying “Thank you, God” together and blowing out the candle can be a graced moment for your family.
• Commit to Sunday Mass even when traveling. This speaks powerfully to your children about the centrality of your faith. Your family trouping into church as vacation visitors also gives a witness to the regular parishioners.
• Extend your family circle. Whether it’s the new child on the block or the elderly neighbor you don’t see all winter, summer is the perfect time to reach out and include them. Don’t fuss about making special plans; just invite others to join whatever you’re already doing.
• Serve others. Teens can shovel snow or mow lawns; gradeschoolers can walk dogs or pick up mail. Kids are often more than willing to do chores for someone else than to do them at home. Volunteer service works wonders for boredom. Older teens may even be able to volunteer for a week away from home in programs helping disadvantaged children or underprivileged communities.