Use your vehicle as a vehicle to bring your kids closer to the Lord . . . and closer to heaven.
by Michelle Gelineau
I want to share with you a secret weapon that I learned about years ago. I will give you one hint: It’s parked outside in your driveway.
Whether you drive a Subaru hatchback or a 14-passenger monster van, it makes no difference. Either one can be transformed into an evangelizing, faith-sharing, Scripture-teaching prayer center on wheels.
That hunk of metal is your own private classroom and/or retaining cell, whichever way you choose to look at it. As your family climbs inside, don’t make the mistake of letting the screens be turned on. Satan would love it if each miniature human was mindlessly taken in by flashing images your entire ride. When the screen is on, with games or videos, the disengagement of your children is complete. The beauty of an automobile is that when those little bodies are clicked safely into place, there is nowhere for them to go. You have their full attention. Even if your children are six feet away in the back of a 14-passenger cargo van, they can still hear your voice. Let the fun begin!
Make your time together happy and light. Regardless of how much tension there may have been while getting ready, once the wheels start turning, begin anew. Put on your liveliest sing-song voice and lead everyone in prayer with, “Good morning! We are going to thank the Lord for this beautiful day! Who has something they want to thank Jesus for?” You can begin and let everyone else chime in.
Then say something like, “OK everyone, who has something they want to pray about this morning?” Let each person add their own intentions out loud. Perhaps you have a lesson that you’re going over in your faith formation class or something you want to teach. You could also learn the St. Michael Prayer, the books of the Bible, talk about what Father spoke about on Sunday in his homily, or put on a Christian song and sing. Laugh and enjoy the time learning together.
Those are the moments you want to seize. Those are the times that you don’t want to be filled with crabbiness and rushing to get to one place or another. Don’t zone out when you get in the car. Use it as your place to take back your children’s attention and introduce them to new topics in the faith. Be open and think about things you can learn in the car together. Most importantly: talk, talk and talk! Focus on praying for other people. Teach intercessory prayer. Try praying to a different saint each day. The options are many.
As you’re driving, if you see a police car or ambulance going by with the siren on, take a moment and pray together for peace within that situation. Pray for God to be with them. Give your children the opportunity to think about the Lord even in these little everyday circumstances. Spark those flames of faith. Spark those flames of love for Jesus and the thought that he is with us each moment of every day. Use your vehicle as a vehicle to bring your kids closer to the Lord . . . and closer to heaven.