Thursday, March 12, 2009

A little religious ed. update

Bubba is preparing for his first holy communion. We are using this little old-fashioned catechism, which is very easy for him to read, but not too dumbed-down, and certainly not hippy dippy. Solid stuff, but kid friendly. I find myself impressed at the profoundness of the simple questions and answers.

Anyway, to make an impression that first communion is a special and important thing, I decided to do catechism lessons in the evenings, after regular bed time. Last year, Bobcat was the only one who got to stay up late after the little brothers had gone to bed. This year, Bubba is the student, and Bobcat gets to stay up too, and listen in and review. Poor Snookie still has to go to bed on time, and he's bummed because he knows that everyone is up without him. But I think that is actually a good thing because it will make him desire the sacrament and take it seriously when his turn comes. There's something very exciting about staying up late. Both boys have had one lesson terminated by me and sent to bed because they weren't paying attention. Bobcat in, I believe week three last year, and Bubba in week six this year. That really makes an impression. I try not to associate punishment with something that should be joyful, but I do want them to take it seriously and feel that it is a privilege. I think it's working because they both snapped right out of it, and Bubba is just plugging right along now. One more reason why I prefer to do this preparation at home rather than in a group setting. We as parents get to decide if they are truly mature enough and adequately prepared, and we can adjust the pace to suit the individual child. Bobcat was actually done by early Feb. last year, and so Bubba to keep on pace would have finished this January, but things just haven't progressed as quickly. And that's fine. We're getting there, and he'll be so well prepared when the day finally comes.

Bobcat is enjoying his observer status this year. He is a little older and wiser, and some of the more abstract concepts are starting to sink in. In the second lesson, "God Is Great", it says that "God had no beginning. He always was. God was never born." Let me tell you, that is blowing Bobcat's mind! I believe his exact words were, "woah... that is so cool." Indeed, son!

Bubba is doing very well, too. He is such a good reader, probably better than Bobcat was at this age, so he is understanding the material a little better because he isn't struggling with the act of reading the words. The book has some very nice illustrations. No illustration adequately captures the mysteries of our faith, but it helps to show some imagery. Bubba takes those images pretty literally. I am still trying to explain how they are just "imagery", not literal representations. For example, one of last week's review questions was, "What kept the gates of heaven closed?" Bubba, remembering the picture answered, "The big piece of wood that says SIN on it." Again, we talked about how there was not an actual huge piece of wood blocking actual heavenly gates. Nor was there actual fire coming out of Jesus' heart and burning it up. Imagery is lost on the boy...

Another example, tonight's review question asked, "Where did Jesus go after He rose from the dead?" The correct answer being heaven, of course. Bubba answers, "To the house where the apostles were locked up." I was actually kind of proud of that answer, since this booklet doesn't mention that. He remembered details from the gospel itself, not just regurgitating the simple answer written on the page he just read!...

Anyway, we are only two lessons away from his first confession. He's actually looking forward to it. Apparently he doesn't know you're supposed to be nervous, and Bobcat has never given him any reason to worry about it. We should all be so joyful as this little Bubba when we go to repent!


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nicole said...

What catechism are you using? Is it pretty easy to get? Princess will do the church's preparation, but I would like to supplement at home.

Daddio said...

It is called the "New St. Joseph First Communion Catechism". I think we bought it at Divine Mercy. Here's a link to one of many online sources:

You'll like it. The pictures are kind of old fashioned, which is fun. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing a little more "diversity" of characters in these mid-century illustrations... they all look like, well, your kids ;)