Parenting is daily catechetical ministry

In her excellent piece, on praying with children Kathy Coffey writes:

Ever hear of an exercise class where you just talked about it? No coach would allow the idle chatter of “It’d be nice to stretch or do sit-ups.” The people who benefit from jogging do it regularly. So our children must see us making sense of our experience through the lens of prayer, trying to understand where God has been active, leaving an unmistakable but invisible imprint.

Kathy is very right, of course. Our children need to see us living out the faith, and living out the expressions of hope, trust, humility and adoration that is implicit in prayer. They won’t learn it by osmosis.

In a related way, we should take advantage of resources that can help us make the faith lively and dynamic for our children; parenting is a daily ministry in catechetics. I learned this much too late. I learned many things about parenting, much too late. It is amazing my kids are not baboons.

Today the Catholic portal at Patheos is launching a new column by innovative catechist Lisa Mladinich, which will each week offer new ideas and advice for parents, CCD teachers and others involved with catechetical ministry. Today Lisa introduces herself and encourages the minister to first minister to the soul of the self, through the sacrament of confession, in preparation for all that is to come.

Her lively weekly columns will also provide links and resource notes. Keep your eye out for it, each Wednesday – you can see her ad in my sidebar.

Speaking of children and faith, if you have not already seen them, check out two very different features on the home page, both touching on where we are and where we are going, Tom Howard’s Searching for Holiness and Glory and Tony Rossi’s the Culture of Life and the Children of Men.

By the way, if you like Pat Gohn–who today gave us thispiece on Leo the Great and who also knocked your socks off here and here, so how can you not like her–look for her new column “A Word in Season” which will launch tomorrow!

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • TeresaBenedicta

    Love the new section on patheos! I will definitely be sharing that with my catechists. Thanks!

  • Marcus

    “I learned many things about parenting, much too late. It is amazing my kids are not baboons.”

    Anchoress, I learned many things about my Catholic faith much too late. It is amazing I am not a baboon…maybe I am, just one who can type!

    Thanks for a great continuing education post and linked pieces by others.

  • Lynne

    I love the babys face is this pic….he looks disturbed. Like a minature little man with all that hair and distress of being groomed.

    [That's Buster, being groomed by his cheerful Elder Brother-admin]

  • newton

    Three weeks ago, my almost-four-year-old Little Fig surprised me in a very pleasant way.

    We have made a habit of going to our nearest IHOP every Wednesday evening, since it’s kids-eat-free-night. (Easy on the parents’ wallets to feed a preschooler and a toddler for free.) This IHOP usually has a nice lady as a clown to entertain kids those Wednesday evenings with her balloon creations. Her name is “Billie Buttons”. Little Fig I has taken a liking for “Billie”, so much that she receives some of the nicest balloon creations and arm paintings we have seen.

    So imagine the day when Little Fig I went running inside the IHOP to visit with “Billie Buttons… only to see her friend and substitute, “Sweetie”, doing exactly the same things “Billie” likes to do. Little Fig I immediately noticed that was not her clown friend. My husband and I found out why. “Billie” had gone the night before to the ER. She was bleeding from her colon. We all thought the worst. “Sweetie” had told us that “Billie” always gave to others without asking anything in return, and that she cared for others a lot more than she even cared for herself… or her health.

    That night, Little Fig I and I sat on her bed for prayers. I told her that we had to pray for “Billie” because she was sick, so we had to put her health and her life in God’s hands that night. We both prayed. When it was over, I tucked her in for a good-night kiss and told her not to worry, that God will take care of her. Suddenly, my Little Fig began to cry her heart out. “I miss Billy Buttons! I love Billy Buttons! I like her yellow shirt! I love when she goes to IHOP to make those balloons! And the paintings!”

    She caught me by sheer surprise. I had thought for a while that my beautiful Elder Girl was having a hard time relating to others and making friends, that she probably wasn’t getting enough teaching about compassion and concern for others since we moved to this area and have found no church home yet. But that night changed all that. I gave her a big hug and an even bigger kiss when I saw clearly that she has a heart bigger than her small body.

    The next Wednesday, we returned to IHOP, only to see “Sweetie” again. She told us that “Billie” was out of the hospital and doing much better, but that week she was tending to a close relative who was passing on. “Sweetie” had told us that “Billie” was skeptical that anyone at the IHOP would miss her while she was at the hospital, sick as she was. “Who’s going to miss this old lady?” I told “Sweetie” to tell her that my little girl missed her very much and can’t wait to see her again. The Little Fig and I were very happy for the good news: we gave thanks to God that evening for that.

    Last Wednesday, “Billie Buttons” was back at IHOP again. Both Little Figs saw her and ran towards her as fast as they could to give her a big hug.

    They returned home with us with a whole lot of heart-shaped balloons.

    Well, what can I say? These Little Figs have surprised me more than I have ever thought. But my husband keeps asking me, “And you are surprised about that? She has shown so much love and care before! How could you miss that?” Yeah, I guess I do deserve some egg on my face…

    [Lovely story! -admin]

  • William O’Leary

    I love the title – Parenting is daily catechetical ministry. Now we just need to get Catholic parents to understand their role to pass on the faith to their kids. :-)