By Mariana Kelly
From little things big things grow – we have heard this simple and matter of fact message many times before, so why does this very logical statement ring true with so much meaning? And how can we use the simplicity of the message to teach our kids about their importance, their purpose and making good use of each moment.
I will occasionally hear my son say, “it’s easy for you because you’re older” to which I will respond, “Yes, but it’s only easy for me now because I started when I was younger.” I try and communicate that you have to start now, while you are still little, so you can grow into the person you want to be when you are older – “you need to practice being a good boy if you want to grow into a good man” I will say. It is important to practice instilling the virtues now that you want to have later on, practice the skills you need for sport, practice the lessons in school so you get better at them – one cannot be expected to write a great essay without first practising to write a good sentence.
One of my favourite quotes that comes to mind is “Be who you were created to be and you will set the world on fire.” – St Catherine of Siena. Now that we are back in restrictions it may be difficult to feel productive or to feel like we have the same purpose, but this is exactly the time to remind ourselves that each moment of each day is an opportunity to develop and grow into the person we “were created to be”. This is a beautiful message to share with your children and so wonderfully ties in with the message that ‘from little things big things grow’. Little does not mean insignificant or unimportant, little does not mean incapable of greatness.
It is also important to remind them that even a little act of kindness, a small act of service or sacrifice can have a great effect on the people around them as well as work to develop who they are. St Therese of Lisieux and her ‘Little Way’ is a helpful example of this method. She paved her path to sainthood by doing small and simple sacrifices each day. St Therese is an encouraging example that you do not have to do great mortification or sacrifice yourself as a martyr in order to make a difference or develop your soul into a heavenly state. It was only through her ‘Little Way” that she has now become one of the well-known saints of our time and given the honour of becoming one of the Doctors of the Church.
A few Sundays ago we were introduced to the parable of the mustard seed:
‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’ (Matthew 13:31-32).
As part of your Sunday devotion or prayer time, I suggest you take time reading through this parable with your children, then discuss it together as a family. Share with them the idea that from little things big things grow – even the tiniest of seeds can grow into the greatest of bushes. It may not appear to be significant, but as it becomes what it was created to be the fullness of its greatness and purpose is revealed.
For a number of activities related to this parable, check out the online version of this article on the Holy Family website!