I was eager to read Keep Your Kids Catholic by Marc Cardaronella for many reasons. Many people on social media and sites I frequent had positive comments about it; I need resources to share with my families in our faith formation program; and I’m working on revamping that program to include some parent component. And of course, I wanted to know if I’d done of Marc’s ideas when I was raising my own kids.
What I look for in resources for parents are books which teach without being preachy, doable activities that take a minimum of preparation and implementation time, and are possible for parents who are and those who aren’t, well versed in the faith. I’m happy to say Cardaronella does all of that and more.
The book is divided into four parts, “How does Faith Work”; “Is Your Own Faith Secure?”, “What Kind of Education Fosters Faith?” and “How do You Create an Environment of Faith?”. Each part has four chapters and at the end of each chapter there is a section called, “Reflect, Pray, Live” which gives action points for parents on how to implement the ideas in the chapter.
Marc weaves his own faith journey story into the book, reminding readers that no one is perfect and coming to faith is a process which happens over time. It’s not a once and done proposition. Many points he made about our religious education programs resonated with me and reminded me yet again how much work we need to do in that area.
I’m not going to give you every quote I highlighted from the book, but here are two that can give you a sense of his tone and style.
“Faith doesn’t automatically develop from reception of the sacraments and religious education…although those two things are important in nurturing faith.” This is a constant struggle. It is almost as if parents and even sometimes catechists and program directors believe that learning enough facts, prayers, and information to receive certain sacraments means we’ve helped someone grow in faith. Knowledge does not determine faith.
This quote is possibly my absolute favorite, “The goal of faith formation is not a theoretical knowledge of Catholic doctrine, but a lived experience of faith in Jesus Christ.” Can someone work on that thought becoming a part of every mission statement of faith formation programs?
I know I’ve focused quite a bit on my personal perspective of why this book is a necessary read. Let me say that I found it to be a book for all of us who interact with children in regard to their faith journey. I will encourage the parents of the families I work with to pick up this book and put its ideas into practice.
Parents have a tremendous influence over their children and are often at a loss as to how to have a positive and effective input where faith is concerned. Keep your Kids Catholic does a wonderful job of providing practical information on how to help children grow in their faith.
For more information about the book or to purchase, you can go to Ave Maria Press.