What a whirlwind the start to this school year has been! As parents, we want what is best for our children and that can be especially hard in this uncertain time with Covid. My husband and I have two daughters (3yo & 1yo). One blessing during this time has been getting outside each day and having hiking adventures as a family. Since March, we have visited 60 parks around St. Louis!! Before Covid, I wasn't sure that many existed in the area, but we still have a lot more parks to explore! It has been our family's way of getting closer to God through nature and slowing down to enjoy the simple joys of life.
Our FAITH blog posts will take us through the Apostle's Creed and we hope to offer some insight into other families' ways of teaching that portion of the Creed to their children. For September, our blog focus in on the beginning of that prayer: "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth."
What better way for little ones to experience God's beauty than by getting outside and seeing His amazing creations? Our 3yo frequently tells our 1yo on hikes, "God made this tree, and this tree, and this tree...etc."
But, in all seriousness, hikes allow a sacred time for our family to walk on a path together and have a similar experience together. It gives my husband and I time to point out the beauty around us.
We also point out beauty at home, but it seems to sink in more while deep in the woods and hearing the birds sing or holding a wriggly caterpillar!
We are the first teachers of the Catholic faith to our kids. That is an amazing gift given to us by God with parenthood, but it can sometimes feel daunting! How can I teach my kid about God in a way that they will understand? For us, a big way has been through nature. You don't have to go far to experience the beauty of nature...just look out your window or step out your front door as the sun is setting!
Some ideas that have worked for our family:
"Let's take a walk. What do you see that God made?"
Go on a neighborhood scavenger hunt and place items in a bag to use later to paint with (ex. leaves, sticks, acorns)
Take play-doh with you on a hike and place on different trees to see the varied textures (making sure to remove when done).
Use a magnifying glass to watch bugs!
Most of all, being out in nature puts it all in perspective for me as a mom. Walking down a hiking path, I feel re-centered, taking deep breaths and experiencing peaceful time as a family.
Last week, I asked my 3yo, "What stands out to you as something beautiful God created?"
Reaching for my hand, she said,
Reflecting on nature can lead minds to focus on who created it and why--God's love for us!
"It is no use walking anywhere to preach, unless our walking is our preaching."
St. Francis of Assisi.
FAITH Board Member
8th Grade PSR Teacher
Elementary Ed Teacher turned Stay-at-home Mom
Check out some of our other favorite Missouri parks @explorestlparks