Faith for the Little Ones
One tested out his walking skills. Another snoozed in a car set. Mamas fed squirmy ones, and daddiess held sleepy ones in their arms.
St. Paul babies born in 2014, and their families, gathered Sunday to connect and learn about how faith can be formed in the earliest of years. It was the first time for such a gathering at St. Paul – the newest in the Faith Milestone series that offers touchpoints for kids through high school graduation.
“We believe that parents are the most influential teachers of faith,” Pastor Sara Olson-Smith said. “You can start right away in telling your child about God, reminding them how much they are loved and modeling a life of faith. This milestone moment is our way to celebrate new parents and to share some ways that they can pass on their faith to their child.”
In small groups, parents talked about the joys, the challenges, and the surprises of being parents. Some were first-time parents, others were parents of older kids, too. They talked about who played a key role in shaping their life of faith while growing up – parents, grandparents,
Each family received a simple story Bible with a place to put a picture of baby’s face on the cover.
“We want your kids to know God deeply, to have a sense of what it means to be God’s beloved child,” Pastor Sara said.
One of the simplest ways of starting to form faith is by loving your child, to allow them to know they can trust, she told the parents. Another way is to bring kids to worship, although it is not always easy. They can see the star on the organ, hear and sing to the music, pick up on the sound of the pastor, know to stretch out their hands during the passing of the peace.
Baptism is also important, Pastor Sara said. “It’s a beautiful moment to make this commitment to your child and to witness this outpouring of love for your child. It’s where we say we’re going to entrust this child to God.”
Yet another way is, as a child is falling asleep, is to make the sign of the cross and whisper a simple blessing: God loves you and so do I.
Last Sunday, through laughter and conversation, and the distractions of some really adorable kids talking and walking and babbling and crying, parents learned this: “Parenting was never meant to be done alone,” Pastor Sara said. “We hope this milestone will give parents a chance to celebrate our amazing living gifts from God, connect with each other, and grow in our own faith.”