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Our Choices Make Us

Children’s Liturgy of the Word

Children’s Liturgy of the Word. God’s Word.

And the fact that I would be delivering homilies (sermons) to dozens of elementary school children boggles the mind.

Yet, it will happen again today, like it does the fourth Sunday of every month. My wife and I volunteer to do this.

Four years ago, a woman from our Church made an appeal to the congregation that she needed more volunteers or Children’s Liturgy would go away. After Mass, we volunteered, thinking we would simply be helpers “on the sidelines”.

Funny how things turn out exactly opposite from the way we expect.

Then I Told Him That

“All I want to do is help you, and teach you, so you’ll learn the important things about life”.

He understands this.

Why? Because I’ve been saying it since he was an infant.

Over and over and over.

He knows that punishments or consequences are not something a parent wants to do, but something a great parent is obligated to do.

And we both are learning that even though society has long subscribed to “punishment for failure“, we are going to challenge the status quo with “reward for not failing“.

“Nothing you ever do for a child is ever wasted”.

So I Told Him This

“My goal is to help you”.

Had a “deep” conversation with our son (9) last night. He has several chores he’s responsible for. One of them is daily. This is the one that we discussed last night.

We finished our simple dinner from our screened-in back porch. The sun had set and it was dark outside, with only the light from inside the house gently illuminating our peaceful surroundings.

Conditioning led me to first offer a consequence for not doing what he is supposed to do. Then it hit me, what about a reward for doing it, instead of a punishment for not? We agreed to use both.

Generally, children are conditioned to think, “when you don’t do something you get in trouble”. I reminded him that the goal isn’t to catch him doing it wrong. The goal is grand and noble. And the goal is deceptively simple.

“My goal is to help you”.

Camel’s Back & The Straw

Ever heard the phrase, “It was the straw that broke the camel’s back”?

It’s a phrase I’ve heard a 1,000 times in America. Camel’s are incredibly strong and resilient. However, they do have a breaking point, a threshold that can be too much, and they collapse.

And when the breaking point is about to be reached, it can be something as small and light as a piece of straw.

Yesterday was like that. Was asked to substitute as lead teacher for last night’s Catechism class. For a variety of reasons (one’s I feel are valid), my son and I skipped Catechism last night.

Just couldn’t do it. Preparing for and leading the class was more than I could bear. Yes, guilt started to overwhelm me. Yes, felt I couldn’t say no, but did anyway.

Yes, from a distance, it only looked like a small and light piece of straw. Carpe diem.

PS. We did do the lesson at home, so our son wouldn’t fall behind.

Catechist’s Prayer

Catechist’s Prayer:

“Gracious and all loving Father, out of love for all people you spoke your Word who became flesh for our salvation. May your Word transform me so that the message of your Son, our Lord, may be echoed through my teaching. Allow me to guide the hearts of those whom I teach in such a way that they will enter more deeply into your way of truth and salvation. Grant me the insight needed to lead them to know, love, and serve you. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, may they become hearers and followers of your Word, so that they may help transform the world to follow the way of life your Son has called us all, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”

Copyright 2009, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

Wednesday nights are reserved on our schedule for Catechism. Our son attends, and I help Miss Jane, the Instructor.