Milestone 2

Celebrating Life through Gratitudehands making heart graphic

Celebrating Life through Gratitude is a Milestone for children in the Little Lambs Sunday School group (one turning two year olds) and their parents.

Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.”
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

Prayer is conversation with God; it is listening and talking. Prayer stands at the center of our Christian life as a natural response to God’s amazing love and grace. As parents and the faith community, we nurture the “habit of prayer” when we gift our children with opportunities for continuous conversation with God in both sacred and ordinary times, such as gratitude for our blessings and comforts.

This milestone has a symbol of hands making a heart, which reminds us to have hearts full of gratitude toward God.

Gifts for Remembrance

This milestone gifts each family a tent card with helpful tips and suggestions on how to incorporate gratitude, prayer and faith into the lives of their toddlers. They’ll also receive a deck of prayer cards with mealtime prayers, and a book about prayers of gratitude. At future Milestone celebrations, parents will receive additional prayer cards to add to this deck.

Books for the Home

For the Family

For Parents

Faith Practices for the Home

Caring Conversations

  • Speak the Bible to your child. The one-year-old child is not quite ready for a story, but you can increase your child’s faith vocabulary with simple Bible verses said rhythmically or with patty-cake motions. Look to the Psalms for verses (substituting “God” for “the Lord”), such as “The earth is God’s and all that is in it” (Psalm 24:1), “It is good to give thanks to God.” (Psalm 92:1)

Daily Devotions

  • Pray together. Now is the time to introduce snack and mealtime prayers that your child can say. You might begin by inviting your child to repeat after you: “Thank you, God, for (name something you will eat). Amen.” This not only encourages the child to thank God but attaches names to food items.

Family Traditions

  • Celebrate the Baptism anniversary of your child. Look at photos of the Baptism day, tell stories of that day, light the Baptism Candle and let it burn for a time, a reminder of God’s presence in your child’s life. Invite family and friends for a special party and invite each person present to bless your child.
  • Model faithfulness. Your child will mimic actions as well as words. If your child sees you fold your hands and bow your head when you pray, she or he will begin to do the same.
  • Make church attendance a priority. Set the pattern now of going to church to come to know God and worship with the community of faith. The patterns that you set now will become a pattern for lifelong learning and faithful discipleship.

Servant Acts

  • Celebrate with other families in the church as they bring their child for Baptism. Listen closely to the promise made by the congregation (that’s you!) and look for ways that you can personally fulfill that promise. Greet the family after the worship service and offer to pray for them in the coming year. Send them a card of prayer and blessing as a way of reminding them (and you) of the promises you’ve made.

Professing our Faith: Catechism Connections

Presbyterians have historically professed their faith through their creeds, confessions and catechisms. Belonging to God:  A First Catechism provides simple language for parents and children as they profess their faith.

Question 46. Why do we pray to God?

Answer: Because we were created to live with God, who desires the prayers of our hearts. Our hearts long for God, for we need God’s help and guidance every day.

Scripture background: Psalm 42:1-2; Matthew 6:5-8; Romans 8:26-27; Psalm 38:9

Question 47. What do we do when we pray?

Answer: When we pray, we adore God, we confess our sins, we give God thanks, and we pray for the needs of others and ourselves.

Scripture background: Psalm 63:1-3; Psalm 51:3-4; Psalm 92:1-4; Philippians 1:3-5, 9-11

Faith Development for Birth-3 Years Old

It is never too soon to tell children about God. Instead of memorizing commercial tunes and product logos, our children could sing songs of love, joy, and faith, and learn to fold their hands before every meal. There is no such thing as letting the child grow up to decide for herself or himself. From the beginning of life, we are surrounded by choices in values and beliefs. Which ones will we help children make?

Recent research in brain development makes it clear that the first years of life are critical for intellectual, emotional, and relational growth. Infants are greatly affected by sights, sounds, and touch – the experience of their immediate environment. The advertising industry knows this well enough to make it a goal to create product loyalty by age three. From Vibrant Faith Milestones Ministry

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