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Editor | Prayer: a foundation for parents as first teachers of the faith

Raising our children in the faith requires self-denial, sound judgment and self-mastery

Parents know that raising children is one of the most demanding jobs ever. And there are plenty of joys and rewards — perks of the work, I suppose.

The Church teaches that parents are a child’s first educators.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church instructs that parents “bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues” (CCC 2223).

Parenting requires “an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment and self-mastery — the preconditions of all true freedom.”

Wow. Self-denial and self-mastery. Those might be the most difficult.

The cover story tells the journey of Paul and Kay Halfmann, who’ve raised seven children and now help other parents grow theirs in the Catholic faith.

A foundation of the Halfmanns’ parenting, and what they teach others, is prayer. Prayer is a foundational skill for faith literacy.

“You would never not teach your children how to read,” Kay Halfmann said. “You want your kids to have a relationship with Jesus — and that’s through prayer.”

Not only must we teach our children how to pray, but we must also pray for them. Consider the example of St. Monica, whose story is on page eight. Her son, St. Augustine, spent much of his life as a partier and hooligan.

But mom didn’t give up. Monica prayed for Augustine constantly and was a living example of parenting through self-denial, sound judgment and self-mastery.

Yes, parenting is challenging. Some days are harder than others. But praying with — and for — our children is another perk of the work.

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