I admit it. I don’t LOVE to cook AND I’m not an extraordinary teacher. I’m a mother of 4 children with a passion to connect kids with their Catholic faith. This passion has fueled my dedication to develop Faith and Flavor… it’s not because I have exceptional skills as a cook or teacher. I am ordinary, which means that if I can cook these recipes and discuss these faith lessons, so can YOU.

When my daughter was in 4th grade, she was invited to attend a Baptist summer camp with her Baptist best friend. I’ve never feared my children attending non-Catholic functions and have used their questions about faith differences as an opportunity for us to learn what our Catholic faith teaches. What I didn’t expect was that when she came home she mentioned to us that her best friend had to show her how to look up the Scripture verses in the Bible. She didn’t know how to herself. My husband and I both looked at each other and affirmed what we then already knew. Neither of us had ever shown her how to find a verse in the Bible.

At that same time, both my daughter and oldest son weren’t thrilled about attending Faith Formation at our church in the fall. I was already feeling overwhelmed by all their activities and homework during the school year. But teaching them about their faith was still important to us as parents even if they didn’t attend the program at our parish. My husband and I decided to do our Faith Formation at home on Sunday mornings.

We bought the kids a Bible and Bible tabs. For the first full year, our lessons consisted of looking up the Sunday readings in our Bible and discussing them. This helped teach them the books of the Bible, how to look up Bible verses and to contemplate their meaning and application to their own lives. At times, God would especially “show up” in the reading with issues that we were dealing with that particular week. I remember specifically that one week we were dealing with lying and telling the truth in my children’s interactions. Coincidentally, the readings that Sunday were on having a truthful tongue and not lying. As a parent leading the discussion, we were able to hone in more specifically to the events of the week and apply God’s word to the situation. This is the beauty of doing Faith Formation at home in a family setting. There are opportunities to address behaviors that need to be corrected or situations that are personal in nature in a non-threatening environment. It provides a safe place for discussion and reflection.

As time went on, we discovered that doing Faith Formation at home was a blessing to our kids, our family and us as parents. It helped establish us as the primary spiritual teachers of our kids and bonded us closer as a family. As parents, we grew, and continue to grow in the knowledge of our Catholic faith.

Were the kids always well behaved and excited to have Faith Formation? No. Did they goof off and tease during the lesson or prayer? Sometimes, yes. My kids are normal energetic kids. Over time, they have become accustomed to our Sunday routine of Faith Formation. Please don’t be discouraged if they initially complain. If your kids are like mine, they’ve complained about doing chores, cleaning their room, practicing piano, doing their homework, etc. It’s OK to lovingly “enforce” habits that help form a balanced and well-rounded individual.

I pray that as you endeavor on leading Faith Formation at home or plan to use this program in another avenue, that it will bless you and all involved with a deeper understanding and knowledge of our glorious Catholic faith.

Blessings, Natalie Burt