Faith seems to be a tough commodity to come by these days. Just watching the news alone can make us wonder what the hell has happened to faith. And not just faith but humanity as well.
I have never had a problem with religion. Oh sure, there are those "cults" out there who brainwash and hurt people. I'm certainly not a fan of them. But any religion that promotes faith, wisdom and love is alright by me.
Here in my home, we are a proud jewish family. An that isn't always something easy to be (I covered some of that here). Judaism isn't just our religion, however, it's also our culture. That tends to make the whole religion thing a grey area.
Today I want to talk specifically about faith. Not religion. Faith.
Faith means so many things to so many people and, right now especially, we can all use a little more of it.
So how do I teach my children about faith while raising them as jews and teaching them to help their fellow man? It should seem easy enough right there but the reality is different. Some children are not fully capable of understanding something just because you tell them to. So, to be an involved mother, I found resources that would help me when I need it the most.
NOTE: I receive nothing from the programs listed below - however, the books I am showing do have an aff link back to Amazon should you chose to make a purchase.
Resource #1 - Jewish Children and Family Services
Although local to me, and therefore unlikely helpful to you, there are still so many details, services and guides to help with raising my daughter in faith. It's not easy to go at it alone and I am forever grateful to the amazing people at JCFS.
They have helped me find the strength to prepare my children for a world that doesn't seem to hold much faith in itself and taught me how to talk to my girls about what faith really means: love, loyalty and respect; as well as hope and selflessness.
Resource #2 - The PJ Library
Another local service, the PJ Library has been a major part of Lily's life since she was born. Every month - at no cost - a children's book is sent to her by mail. As a bonus, she loves receiving and opening her own mail.
Each book is tailored in some way towards being a jewish child and some of the problems/issues that any jewish child may face when holding on to their faith so strongly.
From how to make Matzoh to lighting the candle on Hanukkah, these books are a wonderful way to help Lily grow up with the beauty of her faith.
I had no idea this book existed so you have no idea how happy I was when I found it. As an adult who had been surrounded by interfaith families, I struggled with how to approach the issues of the world to my children.
This books was a (:: cough, cough ::) godsend.
In every chapter I learned more to focus my children towards a life of happiness through goodness and how to see the world through the eyes of the faithful.
My Rabbi provided me with this book and I tore through it in about an hour. I was over the moon happy about finding something - exactly what I needed - to teach my children the ways of judaism without the religion itself as a main focus.
Using this book as a guide, I have been able to teach both girls about the beauty that is our culture but that no religion is exempt from doing their part. It also gave me many different ways to show them that faith means nothing without action.
I am now raising two beautiful jewish daughters. Both are active in the community - our jewish community and our local one. Both are being provided an amazing, blue ribbon, education that aligns perfectly with our belief in helping others.
I can't say it enough :
Faith is not about religion. It's about hope and love. It's about doing what it right.
Your turn! What does faith mean to you? How do you practice your faith daily?