Exactly whose job is it to teach your children about the Faith? Is it your parish priest's responsibility? The second-grade catechist? The parochial-school teacher?
While all of these people have a natural hand in passing on the faith to your children, Marc Cardonarella maintains that you are the one who is your child's primary catechist in his new book, Keep Your Kids Catholic.
I love the subtitle of this book: "Sharing Your Faith and Making It Stick." Just sharing isn't enough.
Faith should lead to changed lives and changed behaviors--new life in Christ. Children need other types of formation in addition to education for Christian faith to be sustainable, and parents are the only ones who can provide it (104).
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There is one teenager remaining in my household. He was just confirmed two months ago. Now is my chance to examine what I can do better as I strive to pass along the faith, to help him stay Catholic despite the influences he faces from his peers, the media, and adults who don't always set the best example.
I remember a post-soccer-practice huddle one evening, when Coach announced that he'd rescheduled a rained-out game for the following Sunday morning. My kid spoke up: "Um, we go to church..." and after a few seconds of silence, several other boys chimed in to say the same. Coach found another time to play that game. Now is my chance to make sure he continues to speak up for what is right and begins to take ownership of his life as a Catholic.
I am grateful for the faithful priests and teachers in my son's life, but Marc Cardonarella's book drives home the point that I can't leave it all to them. It is my job to examine the example I set, the conversations I have, the way the faith is lived in my family. Cardonarella shares concrete ways parents can secure their own faith, then structure their lives (and their teens') to support growth in faith.
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Copyright 2016 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS
About the Author
Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom of 3 young adults, and a Secular Franciscan. She is editor at CatholicMom.com. Barb enjoys writing, cooking, and reading, and is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count. Her booklet, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer, is available now from Our Sunday Visitor.