Two years ago, I took on two 8th grade classes for Faith Formation. Last year I took off. I volunteered to take on two classes this year. One 8th and one 9th grade. After teaching the first class I had second thoughts, and for multiple personal reasons, I said I couldn’t do it this year.
It has been heavily on my mind. I have a knack for getting along well with kids this age. I manage to get them comfortable enough to share, participate, have them teach what they know, and open their minds to God.
I like to spend time – chit chatting during the first class. This allows us to get to know each other a bit. More importantly, this gives me as their instructor an opportunity to learn what they know, what they don’t – and where I need to focus class time on.
Questions I asked the kids this year (as I did last time I taught two 8th grade classes) to me are simple – and a really good indicator of what they know.
- Did you pray today?
- Who is God?
- Do you have a relationship with God?
- Why do you go to Mass?
- What is the Eucharist?
- What is the Trinity?
- What is the Immaculate Conception?
Both two years ago and two weeks ago the answers I recieved were,
- Embarrassed silence
- No (you cannot have a relationship with God if you have no clue on who God is)
- Because parents bring me
- … A wafer? Two years ago I did have female alter servers in once class so they knew right off the bat. One in another class, he knew (the other kids did not). This year – after circling back to this question one girl did guess “body”. One girl.
- I don’t know
- When Jesus was … Mary saw the angel.
I voiced my concern (again) to my director, mentioned it to the Pastor who asked what the director said – he said “It’s a good thing they have you for a teacher because you really care what the kids learn”.
Blame on the parents is often made, but I speak up to that also. My sons learned so much in their own (weekly) religious ed classes (years ago). Now we only meet twice a month – only once in April!
I do have many issues with the religion that I participate in. I know others do too. There have been times I have considered walking out the door and never returning. One dear ones loyalty to the church is what has kept me there to date. Obedience to our Father too, which has become more personal and challenging as days go by.
Today I made the decision to teach again. Because of my love of our Triune God. I will teach the kids out of the book, but I will also teach them about our Triune God, witness some of my own experiences.
I will also explain teachings on the Eucharist. I have already explained what the Immaculate Conception is though I doubt they grasped it. It’s one of *those teachings…. I did my duty.
Church is God’s “house” my focus is helping these kids find God, bringing Him into their lives, prayer and that church teaching is the Eucharist is the reason for Mass (I still stay it’s the homily :) because that is *learning* about Faith, clergy disagree but – they are clergy for the purpose of Eucharist…).
So tomorrow, I will call my director, apologize for waffling on him and return to the classroom. Teaching through April. I am looking forward to it.
I enjoyed helping the kids grow in faith and God in the past. I look forward to doing it again. Two years ago I purchased the Rosaries I used in my feature image. Not because I am a “good Catholic” but because I was able to utilize the prayers One page Rosary Instructions – multiple languages as a way of teaching the children the life of Jesus Christ. Actually, maybe it is because I am a good Catholic, no one else even offered to teach these classes.
While I love my rosary (and provide them to others to give out), for me it is more of a tangible connection at times when I have felt alone. I practice Contemplative Prayer, the Rosary is not something I get anything out of – but I teach it. If you take a look at the link above you will see the scriptural readings that match decades. I suppose you could say I used this as an interactive lesson. These kids just don’t know the life of Jesus. There has been a failure in their early years of not learning about our faith – the first 12-14 years of life. So yes, this does also lay in the laps of parents.
I ordered more and had them blessed yesterday. I guess part of me knew I would follow through teaching this year, I can do this for the next six months. I am open to life changes, including becoming a Noni soon that may prevent me from teaching next year.
The Roman Catholic Church really, really needs to return to it’s basic beginnings – the teachings of Jesus. Without sincere teaching of our Triune God – there is no reason to go to church. Many current teachings are no longer believable to societies that receive a better education than decades ago. The church teaches “our loving God” yet forgets how loving He really is ♥ For the next six months – I will do my best to bring our Father to His children. I only wish their parents had done this – long before.
How much time do you spend talking about God, your faith and your religion to your own children and family members?