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/ 18 June 2020

What if it doesn’t work?

Sam Donoghue from the Diocese of London Children’s and Youth Ministry team shares some insights on family spirituality and when it doesn’t go quite right.

Every week we are (possibly very kindly) giving a few new ideas for some simple spiritual practice to do at home with your family. Whenever I sit down to write down our ideas, I try to have in mind making it reliable and to never write in a way that makes this feel like a big pressure thing.

Hopefully, you have tried a few out and while some have felt quite meaningful and engaging, I’m guessing a few just didn’t work. Rather than throw another idea at you, I thought I could share a few thoughts as to what to do when the deep conversation you hoped for becomes a series of awkward silences or general sillyness.

  1. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Children are unpredictable at the best of times and, unsurprisingly, any study you read into a child’s spiritual life will use words like ‘erratic’. I’m sorry to say that these sessions are going to reflect that – sometimes they will be good, sometimes they will be ok and sometimes they will bomb. You will be less to blame than you feel! Some will really resonate with your kids and others won’t, and the only way to know which ones work is to try them!
  2. It’s ok to cut it short if it’s not happening that week. Sometimes, when the conversation flows, you’ll find that you take more time than you expected, but these will be balanced by weeks when it’s shorter and that’s ok. If it’s a struggle you don’t have to fight about it to get through the material; move on, and draw it to a close. You want to keep these sessions feeling special by avoiding them becoming points of conflict in the family.
  3. You don’t need to do something new every time. If something went well, use it again as many times as you want. Indeed, some spiritual practices acquire more depth the more you use them.
  4. Remember that it’s important to make the effort to pause and think about the faith you are communicating, and its importance to your family. The time you spent wasn’t wasted even if it didn’t live up to your expectations.

If you have other ideas or thoughts on this why not share them with the Diocese of London Children & Youth team by reaching out on Twitter using @DioLondonCYW.

About Sam Donoghue

Sam Donoghue is Head of Children and Youth for the Diocese of London, a keen cyclist and a supporter of Everton FC.

Read more from Sam Donoghue

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