Raising a Catholic Fit Family
If you’re coming here for all the answers on how to raise a Catholic and fit family, please know I’m not the expert! I’m just a mom who is doing her best to have healthy kids, both physically and spiritually, and I’m discovering little tricks along the way. I’m always open to new suggestions and I readily admit my #momfails on a daily basis. Here’s what I’ve learned on this 16-year motherhood journey so far:
Incorporate the Catholic faith into everything
Our faith has so many great practices already in place, that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. Fasting is a great practice to learn temperance with food choices. Meatless Fridays can be a fun way to try new veggie filled meals. We can teach our children to offer up the sweet dessert as a prayer for someone who is suffering, and grab an apple instead. Take a Rosary walk together or start a practice with a prayer.
Body and Soul
I think “the world” has an obsession with shaping our bodies in an unhealthy way so that to a person of faith, it can often feel confusing when we choose to focus on our body’s health and fitness. Taking care of oneself physically is a gift to God in thanksgiving for the body He created for you. It’s not wrong or selfish. We teach our kids ways to be fit both physically and spiritually because human beings are both. St. Augustine is quoted as having said "Take care of your body as if you would live forever, take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow." That’s good advice for everyone at any age.
Making family time = active time
We love to go for family walks and bike rides as a means of bonding and communicating, instead of just staying indoors. Dancing around the kitchen while we clean up after dinner is another really fun one, especially for the younger kids. Practicing sports with the kids gives such great memories to them. My kids still talk about the times I made a great catch or landed the cartwheel when they didn't know I could do that. Surprise your kids with activities you used to love. My daughter started rollerblading after finding an old pair of my rollerblades. Now a bunch of the kids like to lace up and play street hockey!
Being fit doesn’t have to be boring, and it never has to be outside the faith life. Even though our kids play lots of town sports (not religiously affiliated) I like to think that they still bring their values and faith life onto the field through their behavior and actions. At the end of a good race or game, they know who to thank for their talents, and that will hopefully keep them humble and kind.
Colleen Martin runs and writes from New England where she also works full-time as a Business Manager at a Catholic high school and raises 7 children on the side ;) Both running and writing have offered Colleen a way to stay sane amidst all the chaos, a beautiful chaos that she thanks God for daily. You can connect with Colleen at her blog here, and her Instagram here.