September is an exciting time for kids and parents. In academia, students and teachers are starting anew with each other and there is an opportunity to start fresh, regardless of what happened in the past year. Perhaps your child is starting a new sport or honing skills and advancing to the next level of play. It’s also a wonderful time to deepen a youngster’s faith. Effectively engaging in religious formation classes involves both parents and children actively participating and collaborating with the intention of deepening their understanding of faith and fostering spiritual growth. Here are some ways parents and children can get the most out of their religious formation classes:
Be Actively Involved: Attend parent-teacher meetings, workshops, and events related to the religious formation program. This shows your commitment to your child's spiritual development and allows you to stay informed about their progress.
Open Communication: Maintain regular communication with your child's religious education teacher or coordinator. Share any concerns, questions, or suggestions you might have. This partnership can enhance your child's formation experience.
Supplement Learning at Home: Reinforce the lessons learned in class by discussing them at home. Incorporate religious activities, such as reading from scripture, praying together, and participating in family devotions. Parents – formation is an ongoing process. You do not need all the answers. The pastoral staff at your parish would be happy to meet with you to discuss any thoughts, or questions you may have in understanding Church teachings.
Model Faith: Children often learn through observation. Demonstrate your faith through your own actions, prayers, and participation in parish m
inistry. Your example of stewardship can inspire your child's commitment to their faith. If you haven’t started a prayer ritual with your family, now is the perfect time to start saying “Grace” before meals (even before breakfast!) and praying before bedtime.
Encourage Questions: Create an environment where your child feels comfortable asking questions about their faith. Discussing doubts and seeking answers is an essential part of spiritual growth.
Attend Worship Services: Regularly attend Mass and even add a special prayer service, such as Eucharistic Adoration as a family. This reinforces the connection between what is learned in formation classes and the practice of faith in a community setting.
Promote Reflection: Encourage your child to reflect on their faith journey, values, and experiences. This can be done through journaling, discussions, or quiet moments of contemplation.
Active Participation: Be prepared! Engage fully in class discussions, activities, and projects. Ask questions and contribute your thoughts to deepen your understanding.
Homework and Assignments: Take religious formation assignments seriously. Completing homework and assignments will help reinforce your learning and allow you to apply the teachings in your daily life.
Open Mindset: Approach your religious formation classes with an open mind. Be willing to explore new concepts, ask questions, and consider different perspectives.
Connect with Peers: Build friendships with your classmates who share your faith journey. Engaging in group discussions and collaborative activities can enhance your faith learning experience.
Prayer and Reflection: Develop a personal prayer routine. Spend time in reflection and contemplation to connect with your spirituality and build a relationship with God.
Apply Lessons: Look for opportunities to apply the teachings from your religious formation classes in your interactions with family, friends, and the community. Practice kindness, empathy, compassion, and service to your parish. Perhaps you would like to be an altar server. Some parishes even have a junior lector ministry that will give you all the training so you can confidently proclaim God’s word.
Share with Family: Share what you're learning with your family. Engaging them in conversations about your faith journey can foster deeper connections and understanding.
Remember that religious formation is a lifelong journey. Both parents and children can benefit from ongoing engagement in their parish with an openness to learning, and a commitment to growing in their faith.
The Catholic Ministries Appeal supports The Office Evangelization and Catechesis programs that evangelize our youth including Faith Formation, Young Adult and Youth Ministry, and Camp Quo Vadis.