I mentioned in an earlier post that some behavior issues, especially among the boys, had been an ongoing nuisance. Finally, during the class preparing them for reconciliation, I calmly read the riot act to them. I said, “We are talking about God! We are talking about Jesus! To laugh and make light of things during this class is to make light of our relationship with God.” I went on to explain that, like a coach, I’m here to help them learn some knowledge and skills to excel, not in a sport, but in the Catholic way of life, which I firmly believe is “the Way.” That thought proved to be a sobering and positive thought for them. Later, as we discussed examples of mortal and venial sin, I proposed that misbehaving in religious education class could be considered a venial sin (“a failure to observe necessary moderation,” CCC glossary). This was an eye-opener for them and seemed to open the way for much-improved behavior as the class progressed. A sprinkle of guilt, used sparingly and wisely, can serve as an excellent tool for growth.
P.S. As long as we’re on the subject of “children behaving badly,” I have a free gift for you: Ten Tips for Maintaining Discipline. Just click on the link in the column to the right titled “Free Catechist Tips.”