In Melanie Bettinelli’s new posting series Seeking Curriculum for First Communion Preparation and Religious Education? she addresses (what I believe) to be the ultimate problem in our Catholic religious education programs:
“I don’t think books are the mainstay of my religious education program. And actually, to drive this point home, I want to eschew the phrase ‘religious education’ because I think what I do is much more formation than education. What we are doing is living a Catholic life. Our faith is not merely an academic subject to be studied like math or history or literature, it’s a relationship to be lived in our daily life.”
I write more as a Catholic wife/mother than I do as a Catholic D.R.E.
Books are necessary tools. Books are wonderful. Books give us information, wisdom, truth, thoughts, ideas, and a peek inside the minds of great men, women, and saints. They are necessary.
But religious training in a faith we hold near and dear is more about formation than education.
Children will not desire to learn more about something they do not love.
Children will not care about something they do not live.
And, while religion might indeed be something we can teach the youth, a life of faith ultimately begins with a relationship between a child and his Creator.
Yet so many children enter our hallways and classrooms without that primal introduction and relationship already established.
Instead, they are led into our hallways and classrooms for one hour a week (a day if in Catholic schools) and handed a book.
Most of the time there is a teacher and a book standing in the way of the Teacher and the Book.
Perhaps if we could only make ourselves step out of the way and allow the child to meet and get to know this Creator on a personal level; we’d have more success with our religious education training.
I’m anxious to hear what more Melanie tells us in her series: Seeking Curriculum for First Communion and Religious Education.