As a kid, Christmas meant presents. As a mom, Christmas means so much more.
Growing up, I used to get in trouble in church. My mom was the organist at our Armenian (Christian) church, so my sister and I had no choice but to tag along with her to early morning services before Sunday School officially started. We’d stand in the first pew, right in front of the organ bench, and giggle loudly – like brats.
This rotten behavior of ours used to rightfully make my mom angry. She’d stare us down with threatening, “You’d better knock it off now” looks while the choir sang, and she played her music. One time, a sweet old lady even yelled at my sister and me for making too much noise during the holiest prayer of the service.
(Remembering this now, I laugh out loud even though it’s not funny.) Going to church was an ongoing constant in my childhood. Check the box. I didn’t think much of it.
As a parent, I’ve found myself strongly connected to my faith over the past several years, raising my daughters; believing more, regularly attending church and taking them to Sunday School in the same way I was raised (minus the organ-playing).
Nobody said taking little kids to church every week is easy – there’s usually a fight about getting dressed and getting out of the house on a nonschool day. But, fighting this good fight on Sunday mornings far outweighs the temporary inconvenience.
Whether or not we want to admit it, having faith is a life skill our kids can’t afford to not have. This holiday season, my family is experiencing a tremendous loss in our lives. Friends keep asking me, “How are you functioning?” Faith.
Without faith, I’d feel absolutely lost during this time.
Building faith takes time, energy, commitment, diligence and perseverance over a lifetime – from youth, into teen years, through adulthood. Most parents I know want to give our kids everything they might need, as they grow, to cope with life’s inevitable kicks in the gut.
I know there might be ebbs and flows concerning beliefs over my daughters’ lives, but I don’t ever want my girls to feel lost. As long as I do my best to give them a consistent and cumulative foundation of faith to learn about and lean on as they grow, I feel like we’re good for the long haul.
Having faith has personally kept me grounded and positive through my life. This same faith is now allowing me to live and continue during this difficult personal time, especially during the holidays. Doesn’t every parent want that for our kids – the strength to believe in something bigger and work through life’s losses? They won’t learn it by themselves.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old, he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
Jill Simonian was born and raised in Fresno and is creator of TheFabMom.com. Her book for pregnant moms, “The FAB Mom's Guide: How to Get Over the Bump & Bounce Back Fast After Baby“ available now. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter @jillsimonian.