Have you ever considered how much sports teach children? Most sports children participate in are team sports, which means that they learn how to work as a team. Children learn how to be good sports in both victory and defeat from participating in sports. They also feed children’s love for physical activity and fitness. Sports are important, and finding a sport your child enjoys will help them learn how to be disciplined with practice and training in order to achieve success. What few tend to think about is how sports and faith can interact in a positive way.

For most people faith and religion have little to no role in sports. In fact, some have said that sports compete against faith for time, such as when practice and games interfere with Mass times and CCD.  This might occur and requires prudent scheduling on the part of the parents, but sports by no means should be in competition with or removed from living a life of faith. You can use sports as an example of how one can incorporate prayer into anything one does.  Here are few tips for how you can help your children incorporate their prayer life and faith into sports.

  • Pray before and after games – praying with your children before and after games, practice, or anything else will reap major benefits for your child. First, they will understand sports in the context of faith and understand how the two go together. Second, God will bless your child’s participation in sports as well as the other players. Lastly, it will teach your children the importance of prayer in everyday life.
  • Teach your children to be charitable – It is easy for children to quickly learn to be uncharitable in sporting events and simply get caught up in the competition, especially as they get older. Sporting events are a great time to reinforce to your children that being charitable in everything you do is important, and therefore you should help up the opponent that falls. Children need to learn that charity trumps competition and that both can coincide even during a game.
  • Give your child sports medals – St. Christopher Sports medals are a beautiful reminder for your child that they and their team are being prayed for and protected by the saints. Sports medals exist for most any common sport, and many of them invoke the blessings of St. Christopher or St. Sebastian. Sports medals not only make a great gift, but also remind your children to invoke the prayers of the patron saints of sports.

Using sports medals, teaching your children to be charitable, and praying before games are just a few ideas to help you encourage your children to make the most of sporting events. What do you do to help your children bring their faith and prayer life into sporting practice and competitions?

Bonus: Dr. Bill Thierfelder, president of Belmont Abbey College, is making an effort to bring back virtue in college sports through SPD (Sports Properly Directed) at reclaimthegame.com.  Dr Thierfelder hopes that his student athletes with use sport as a tool to build virtue and character.  Belmont Abbey College is a conservative Catholic liberal arts college near Charlotte, NC.

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2 Responses to Learning Faith through Sports

  1. dan says:

    http://www.sportsleader.org/
    This is program that does all of this and it is for both Catholic and any faith.

  2. Nicholas says:

    Thanks for the great suggestion, Dan!