During the month of May we’ll be highlighting our Marian dolls (which are all on sale this month!) and exploring how through play based learning we can plant a seed of faith in our children that will truly last a lifetime. Today we look at Our Lady of Fatima!
At each of the Fatima apparitions, the Blessed Mother emphasized the importance of prayer and asked the children to pray the rosary daily. She told them that prayer changes the world!
When life feels overwhelming (like right now as the world faces Covid-19) children can feel very powerless and hopeless. What can they, being “just” kids do? Mary gives us the answer, we can pray. No matter our age or ability, we can pray.
This is a great time to point out the rosary held in the Our Lady of Fatima doll’s hand, and that Mary appeared to three shepherd children. They had no special theological training- they were just simple children- but their prayers mattered, just like ours do!
In the Fatima apparition she specifically requested the praying of the rosary. Not only is the rosary a fantastic way to contemplate the life of Christ, but also its form lends itself to the type of meditative prayer that has been shown in brain scans to promote calm, and counteract the negative affects of stress hormones on the body and mind.
Teaching children how to pray helps them in so many amazing ways. Of course, the most important part of prayer is cultivating a relationship with God. It is through prayer that we learn to speak and to listen to the voice of God in our lives. Each time we turn to God in prayer it is an act of faith, hope and trust. It teaches us to remember that God is our father, and we can rely on him.
Children will feel empowered knowing that through prayer they can affect real change in the world. Feelings of helplessness and powerless contribute to anxiety- but through prayer children can learn that they are not helpless, but *helped* by a God that is their loving Father. They are not powerless, but instead are an important part of the body of Christ, helping build Christ’s kingdom on Earth.
Studies show that children that engage in daily prayer are better able to process emotions, are more forgiving, have greater life satisfaction and are significantly less likely to engage in risky sexual or drug related behavior in their twenties.
Start small! Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Younger children don’t have the attention span for an entire rosary- but as St. John Bosco said, “my whole work began with one Hail Mary.” All it takes in the beginning is one Hail Mary every day, and slowly but surely as your child grows, so will their prayer life.
Teaching children the importance of prayer helps both them and the world, God is so good!
This is just one example of how to use this story to explore and expand on an aspect of our faith. Together with your child, I’m sure you will discover even more! God bless!