« Easier | Main | Awash in Squash? »

October 16, 2004


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

My parents home-catechised us, using the Faith and Life series from Ignatius Press. When our parish got a new DRE a few years back, and she found out we were doing catechism at home, she asked my dad if she could see our materials. He gladly gave them to her, thinking she wanted to replace the series that the parish had been using. Turns out she just wanted to make sure that we were getting proper religious education. Well. When I was finally forced to attend catechism classes with my peers a year later (everyone has to go to confirmation class together) I was shocked at how little they knew about the faith. But I had never seen their materials - probably they were looking for umbrellas and filling in the blanks while I was learning the Ten Commandments! Finally, I understand!

My mother flew into a rage at our CCD curriculum. They never really got beyond "God is Good" and "God loves us." Anything I learned, I pretty much learned from her, from listening on Sundays, and from the books I picked up on my own to read.

My husband and I actually changed parishes because our prior parish had no "real" religious education curriculum to speak of. It took place between the start of the first reading and the end of the homily during Sunday mass. It was clearly designed to get the parents int he pews and writing checks. Sorry--twenty minutes a week, with ten of those minutes spent getting settled and taking attendance or else lining up to go back into the church, is not enough religious education for my family. We were told quite pompously by the religious ed coordinator that the parents were supposed to be the primary educator, and she didn't want to hear from me that at least the church should be giving us SOME help!

The new church has a class once a week for an hour and fifteen minutes. Plus, we're teaching at home as much as we can based on the natural situations that arise. I'm not sure it will be enough, but then again, how much would be "enough"? I have to pray that our example will be sufficient to guide our children as they get older, and that when they have questions about their faith, they'll know where to turn to get their answers. The best thing we as parents can do to form our child's religious consciousness is to take it seriously.

By the way, I got a laugh out of the coffee thing. My husband calls it "the coffee bootstrap problem," how does one make a cup of coffee BEFORE making the first cup of coffee?

I wish that I had paid more attention to what passed for religious ed when my kids were littler - my dh had a fine education in his faith through 18 years of Catholic schools (nursery through college) and naive me, I thought that they were getting a basis in the faith. At a minimum, I thought they would get at least what I got as an Anglican child, including memorization of a catechism.
There are so many things I would do differently if I had it to do over again!
I am seriously tempted to get a set of the Ignatious books just to have on hand.

Oh, on the coffee bootstrap thing? We are tea drinkers, and I always try to have a cup of cold tea from the night before available first thing in the morning. I can drink a bit cold, or zap it, and the caffeine kick helps me to remember to do things like make sure the kettle is full before turning on the burner - or making sure that I have turned on the proper burner (I HATE the electric stove! John has promised to get the gas line run so I can connect my gas stove - one of these years).

We invested in a coffee maker with a timer - much easier to set and get ready the night before when we still have some sense about us. On really tired nights, we've both been seen turning the maker to "On" instead of "Auto" and walking away... to the lovely aroma of freshly brewed coffee at 10:00 at night. Oops. The worst fiasco was my mom putting the grounds in without checking for the filter (we have a permanent one that we rinse out). That was pretty vile sludge.

On the subject of RE, so far we've only been exposed to the RCIA, and that was really good. I attribute that to the priest at the time, a natural teacher. Our current priest is not as comfortable in the classroom setting, but seems to be getting the message across. Nice thing about our parish is that they really encourage parental involvement in CCCD, so when the time comes I hope we'll be in good hands. If not, I know where to go (Ignatius Press is always a winner).

Oh Alicia, I feel your pain. I grew up with a gas stove and oven, as well as oil heat (not sure whether the latter is also better. And we did have window units for a/c.) I don't believe it is even possible to have gas for cooking or heating here. It's really annoying when people give you Peeps for Easter and you can't toast them over the flame on the stove.

My mother figured we would get real religious education in Catholic school, too. She was born in 1938, and her kids between 1964 and 1978, so she was sadly mistaken.

My husband was born in 1949 - our kids were born between 1974 and 1988. My dh is now an associate teacher in the Confirmation class - the curriculum comes from Franciscan University and looks pretty good. I subbed in one class last year, though, and I was majorly distressed at issues that the kids didn't seem to realize were non-negotiable dogmatic positions. Like abortion, homosexuality, fornication, etc. The so-called pelvic issues. How can kids get to High School in religious ed and miss that stuff?

I cannot even blame caffeine deprivation for my stupid attack, because I drink decaf. It was placenta brain, pure and simple. And scary.

Good catechesis is really hard to do, I think. I've seen materials that were rock-solid theologically but left a bad taste in my mouth because I felt they had been written by someone who didn't have much connection to real live kids. (Questions like, "Is it better to like to play ball or to like to pray the rosary?") I think kids want to know who God is, to understand how to make their way in a confusing world. Neither "Jesus loves me" find-a-words nor questions with One Simple Right Answer (a disagreeable one for many children at that) will give that to them. I don't know that I can either, but I'll give it my best shot.

The comments to this entry are closed.