FINCH Flies High with Family
Katie Keenan teaches her children about Divine Mercy by keeping the concepts simple and basic, for example, showing that sharing toys or using kind words are merciful acts.
By Katie Keenan
I have been teaching my kids The Divine Mercy Chaplet for about a year now. I have four young kids, and talking to them about Divine Mercy is so inspiring. Suddenly, everything we teach our kids about being kind, forgiving, praying, sharing toys, and the like has much greater meaning.
The acronym FINCH (Feast, Image, Novena, Chaplet, Hour) from Fr. Joseph, MIC, published in the Spring 2012 edition of Marian Helper magazine, is genius at work. It was divine intervention to come up with that idea.
I want to take the idea and spread it to my kids, friends, family, and teachers at our Catholic school. It's simple, and I think through kids, we will also be able spread it to adults.
We can practice Divine Mercy every day all year long by showing acts of mercy in reparation for sin, for the souls in purgatory, toward others, and for our needs. Teach kids the following ideas to show acts of mercy:
• Sharing toys
• Using kind words
• Obeying your mother and father
• Being the first to help another in need
• Putting themselves last (to eat, get in thecar, etc.)
• Forgiving immediately
• Standing up for what is right (speaking up for another child being picked on)
• Doing things around the house without being asked
• Teaching them about FINCH.
Parents can reward these acts of mercy by giving praise, attention, and speaking of their good deeds to others. Celebrate your work by sharing ice cream or some special treat. Maybe you can have a celebratory feast once a week when you and your kids talk about what you have done and how your prayers have been answered. Let your kids think of ways to show acts of mercy.
I often talk about prizes in heaven for things we do here on earth. Remind your kids that although their acts of mercy aren't always recognized here on earth, Jesus sees everything. The more acts of mercy we do on earth, the greater the prize in heaven.
We then talk about how great and beautiful heaven is and that we cannot imagine what amazing gifts He has for us. Just thinking about it gets the kids excited! We talk about the most beautiful things we know of and see here on earth, then we build on that idea of what it might look like in heaven.
We perform works on mercy for neighbors and friends by doing things such as inviting them over for dinner, making food for someone, bringing out a neighbor's trash can on trash day, visiting the sick, smiling to a stranger ... the list goes on and on. The point is that we can incorporate mercy into our daily lives easily and effectively.
Katie Keenan lives in Durham, N.H.