A lot of Catholic moms I know actively seek out how to be the best Catholic mom they can be. They ask questions of more experienced Catholic moms what they do to build faith within the family--How to pray with children? How does one teach the tenants of the faith on the level of the children without dumbing it down? We seek to know and execute the Holy day traditions in order to bring faith to life for the whole family. As we Catholic moms know, being a Catholic mom means being a leader of faith and morals within the family. "3 By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; 4 through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Prov. 24:3-4
I wish to talk a little about Catholic stewardship. How does one teach stewardship to children and why? Firstly, what is stewardship? Simply put: It is the prudent management of something entrusted to one's care. God made man the steward of the earth and all the things within in it.
Let us shrink this down a bit more. For a Catholic mom and her children, stewardship may look more like everyday life. We teach the children to care for their things--put their toys away and pick up their dirty clothes; we teach them to not litter and pick up litter; we teach them to turn off lights and not waste water, because as my son reminds, "We only have one earth."
But as the Catholic leader within the family, we must show stewardship by example. We must turn off the lights, pick up litter, use reusable shopping bags and recycle and make prudent choices for our family. We teach our kids that watching too much T.V. is not good for our minds and bodies. We teach them how to nourish their bodies properly despite all their whining about the food on the table. We teach them to share and give to those without. Most importantly, we teach them to pray. We teach them that prayer is care for their soul and their relationship with God. In fact, one could argue that Catholic stewardship filters into every aspect of life.
What is strawberry stewardship? My kids love strawberry milk. Someone got into me about the dyes and so forth in manufactured strawberry syrup. I was willing to overlook this so long as they drank their milk. But, my kids drink an awful lot of strawberry milk and they could probably do with a few less additives in their lives. This Catholic mom decided in order to take better care of my children's bodies I ought to make homemade strawberry syrup out of fresh organic strawberries.
I finally got around to making strawberry syrup last night. It was delicious and beautiful. I called the kids to the kitchen and sat them down for some fresh strawberry milk. My son complained that he didn't like the seeds and pulp. Okay, fair enough. I spent the next half hour straining the syrup. I saved the pulp for ice cream topping. Then I called him back to try pulp-less strawberry milk. Nope, yuck. It was too sweet with not enough strawberry flavor and it did not turn his milk bright pink. You can't get that hyped up strawberry flavor and artificial color with homemade syrup. Though, the rest of the family liked it.
I asked myself why I had spent all this time working on this syrup when it seemed to be a failure? Why do I put a table cloth on the table when the kids just pull it off? Well, because of stewardship, of course. Because it is good for my kids' mind, body and soul to drink, eat and partake of this world in all it's beauty and rightly understood. That is the chief goal of a Catholic mom. Because if we take proper care of our families' soul, mind, body and environment this will help us all achieve salvation.
By the way, I heard no complaints from my son about his strawberry milk as he sucked it down this morning. ;-)