Teaching Your Children the Devotional Life

It is an understandable though grave mistake to merely think in terms of your child practicing devotion. No! Your child’s life must not merely consist of this and that devotion. Rather, your child must live the devout life.

A devotion is a prayer, but St. Paul instructs you to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes [P1] 5:17) precisely because your entire life should be a prayer. In other words, your child’s life should be a devotion.

Your child must understand that the sole purpose of this short life is to know, love, and serve Almighty God. There is no other reason. Your child’s brain was made not just to learn algebra but to know God, even if through mathematical truths. Your child’s heart is not just for loving his spouse but for loving God through whatever vocation God asks him to fulfill.

Your child’s feet are not just for running cross country but for walking the way of the cross. Your child’s arms are not just for lifting weights but for carrying the cross of others, as Simeon did for Our Lord. The purpose of your daughter’s eyes is not just to glisten in beauty but to see the splendor of God in all of creation. The purpose of her mouth is not just to laugh with friends or sing but to proclaim the Word.

And the purpose of every second on the twenty-four hour clock is to provide your son or daughter with one more moment of devoting him or herself to God with every ounce of possible passion. There is no other purpose in your child’s life. And you, Dear Parent, must convince your child of this most sacred reality.

Your child’s life is not a life to be lived with devotion but rather as a devotion. Prayer is not the offering to God; life is the offering—the prayer that never ceases. A prayer is merely a tool to assist in this great self-sacrifice.

Dear Parent, you must avail yourself of all the wondrous devotions Holy Mother Church offers. In order for your child’s life to be truly devotional, you must help him apply the particular devotions to every area of life.

Source: Parenting for Eternity by Conor Gallagher, Published by TAN Books (cf. Chapter 2: Devotional Life).