Stories on the Journey Week 2: Kids Say/Do the Darndest Things

stories from the field

Welcome to Week 2 of Stories on the Journey, as we continue to share stories about our experiences in the catechetical ministry. This week’s topic is, “Kids (adults too) Say/Do the Darndest Things!” Let’s hear about those unforgettable moments when one of your students (whether a child or an adult) said or did something that cracked you up, made you smile, or simply blew your mind!

Share your story by typing in the comment box at the end of the post.

  • Keep your story brief; one or two paragraphs is fine.
  • Return each day to read the stories that others are posting.
  • Feel free to comment on one another’s stories.
  • You need not share your full name; first names will do.

Check out stories from Week 1: How Did I Get Myself Into This?

I’ll start this week’s collection of stories by sharing one that I posted just a few months ago. (See the Comments thread below.) I look forward to reading your stories. If they’re anything like Week 1, we’re in for a treat. Catechists make great storytellers!

* All stories posted become property of Loyola Press and may be used in future publications.
About Joe Paprocki 2739 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

34 Comments on Stories on the Journey Week 2: Kids Say/Do the Darndest Things

  1. One evening, while discussing the 10 Commandments with my 4th graders, I told them about a true and very tragic story that was in the news recently in Chicago of a thug who stole an iPhone from someone at the train station and, in his hurry to get away, knocked over an older woman who then hit her head and died from the injury. I explained how at least 3 commandments were broken in that incident: the thief first coveted his neighbor’s goods, that desire led him to steal, and all of it led to him killing someone…all over a phone. One young man raised his hand and said, “people like that have poop for brains!”


  2. Here’s another one I shared a while back:

    During one class, as the kids were playing with the Play-Doh I had set out for them to teach the concept of how God shapes our conscience, I commented that, when I was a kid, I loved playing with Play-Doh. One of the boys asked, most sincerely without being a smart-aleck, “They had Play-Doh back then?”


  3. We like to interview our 2nd graders before they make their Sacraments. During one interview before 1st Communion, I’m not sure why, but I asked this girl a question that wasn’t on the list. I asked her “So do you think you’re ready for 1st Communion.” Her reply: “Yeah, I’m excited! I’m nervous cause everyone will be watching me, but I’m excited!” Isn’t that how we all should feel going up to receive Jesus?

  4. One Sunday in Children’s Liturgy of the Word we were discussing the Gospel and the story of the Transfiguration. One little girl finally said, “I still don’t get it. What did Jesus do?” Another little boy answered: “Well it’s like when the Power Rangers bump their fists together and become Super Heroes. That’s what Jesus did!” The little girl’s face lit up! That was an image she could understand!

  5. I spent an entire class explaining about a particular group of females saints. I went over their exemplary lives, what they did for the church. I closed the session with the phrase, “Do you have any more questions about these heroines of faith”. My star pupils eyes lit up and asked…all of these women were on drugs?

    We all got a laugh out of it as we explained the difference between the two words.

  6. One day my first grade class was practicing the Glory Be in unison. It seems that the better they know a prayer the louder they pray, so when I walked by one little gal, there was no question about what she said at the end of the prayer: “is now, and ever shall be, world without MEN. Amen” I guess I should have corrected her!

  7. After discussing Lenten traditions with my 2nd graders just before the first Sunday of Lent, I segued into a discussion of our youth group’s upcoming mission to help the homeless on their “Midnight Run” in NYC. We had an interesting discussion of what it means to be homeless, and I asked the kids to bring in toiletries as an outreach project so we could help the “big kids” help the homeless.

    Two or three weeks later, a mother came up to me after class and asked if Kevin had told me what he had given up for Lent. He hadn’t, so she told me that he had been sleeping on the floor because “there were homeless people who had no beds.” I still choke up, 15 years later…

  8. I was waiting with my little ones, all lined up to enter the church for their First Holy Communion, when I heard a muffled “Mrs. L… !” I turned around and there was Christopher, hands covering his face, experiencing his First Unholy Nose Bleed. Blood was all over the front of his rented white Communion gown and running down the sleeves. I quickly got him back into the school while another catechist took over the rest of the class. I managed to calm him down, clean him up, and get the nose bleed under control, but the gown was a total loss. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit was with us, and we had *one* spare gown in the box that was *exactly* the right size! We managed to slip in before the Mass was under way, and his nose behaved for the rest of the day.

  9. During Mass one Sunday, I sat in front of a young mom and her almost 4-year-old daughter. I had sat near them many, many times. This mom was very good at engaging her daughter in the Mass with prompts to make the Sign of the Cross, watch for something or to say “Amen. ” This particular Sunday, Mom told daughter to get ready to say “Thank be to God” after the first reading. This little one, on cue in the proper place, declared “Thanks to BIG God.” What a gift to me and the woman next to me!

  10. Last year at the Grandparents Mass, I volunteered to be “grandma” for one of the kindergartners whose grandmother couldn’t be there. During the Mass I was impressed at how well she participated during the Mass with here responses and with the prayers and singing. Then when the bells rang out before Concecration she looked up at me all excited and whispered “listen, a miracle is going to happen”.
    No wonder Jesus says, “let the little children come unto me.”

  11. In discussing Jesus’ identity with my class, one of the titles was Lamb of God. Trying to tie in the Mass I asked when in theMass do we hear that phrase. When one of the students responded correctly, another young man in surprise said, Gee, I thought we were saying “Man” of God! I encouraged the use of the missals and plan to devote a class or two to the Mass very soon!

  12. When asking the children to name me some bible stories I got Jesus Healing 10 leopards and Dude in the Lions Den.

  13. While returning from Communion one summer Sunday my 8 year old son whispered, “That’s 15.” “15 what?” I asked, intrigued. “15 times I’ve had Jesus.” I continue to share this story often to our First Communion parents and children. My son will turn 14 in a month. I wonder if he is still counting?!?

  14. One year when I was teaching my 4th graders about the 10 Commandments, I was trying to gingerly explain adultery. I simply put it as when adults have an affair. I figure it is enough to give them the idea for their age. A child raised her had and said, “Well, I know my dad has committed adultery…” We quickly moved on. TMI (Too much information)

  15. When I was the catechist for my youngest son’s second grade class, we were learning about the Seven Sacraments. There were two special moments that I remember that year. Andy (my son) was also very interested in sports, especially football. We were his brother’s football game and wanted to get a snack from the “Confession Stand.” Another time we were actually in class naming the sacraments and the kids had only come up with six of them and were thinking really hard trying to remember the last one. ANNOUNCING OF THE SICK! Andy yelled.
    Andy’s 15 now, and a wonderful, spiritual young man. And yes, I still bring those stories up once in a while just for the humility factor and a good laugh.

  16. Yesterday I was at a diocesan meeting of parish ministers. We were talking about “Restoring Joy”, how it relates to our ministries, our parishes and how a smile is so important. One parish minister shared a story of a little boy who made the comment after looking around at people who attend Mass, “If Jesus it is such Good News, why are all of these people so sad?”.

  17. In an RCIA session we were discussing Jesus’ family and their various occupations. When asked what was St. Joseph’s occupation….one young lady responded….a carpet layer! No…a carpenter…you know wood work?

  18. One of my catechist’s shared this story:
    Ryan told me this yesterday while driving in the car.
    He stated, “Jesus has the most pain in the whole world!” Me: What do you mean? “He takes all our pain for himself in heaven.”
    I told him that is so ready to make his sacraments next year..I caught his shy smile before he said, “Mom!”

  19. In 1978 when I first started teaching religion I had a kindergarten class. One particular lesson was about being a Christian. After talking about what a Christian was, I went around the circle of 5 years olds on the floor and asked each of them if they were a Christian? “Yes teacher” they each answered. When I got to Mary, and asked her if she were a Christian she answered, “No teacher”. I said, “Mary, you’re not a Christian? What are you then?” In ALL seriousness she answered, “I’m a Sagittarius!”

  20. One of my favorite homilies during family masses and around the celebration of sacramants, our priest retells the story of the time he asked a young confirmation candidate during a mass how many sacramants there were.

    She promptly responded 13. When she got the ired look of the priest, she quickly explained, six for girls and seven for boys.

  21. My fave comment of the year: I gave the assignment to fourth graders to write an essay on what they had learned this year about discipleship and getting to heaven. One opened with, “It is possible to follow Jesus and still live a perfectly normal life.”

    I was somewhat relieved to hear this.

  22. One of my third graders raised her hand and said I have a question:
    If God made the world and the people, then who made God?

  23. For my second grade classes a few years ago, we had a Stocking for Jesus for Advent/Christmas. I explained that Jesus doesn’t want us to BUY gifts for his birthday stocking – but to give gifts from the heart – helping others, sharing, praying and so on. Well, on the last class before Christmas, one little girl brought in her Jesus stocking – with coins in it (pennies, nickels). I explained to her that Jesus didn’t want her to give money; she told me the money was for children who wouldn’t have a nice Christmas – and she wanted to share what she had. Marcella’s family was in need at time as well – but she gave what little she had to children less fortunate. I know I was so proud of her and so was her mom when I told her – I know Our Lord must be thrilled with one so young doing something so grown up…

  24. This isn’t about my class but an experience I had with my 4 year old son after one Sunday School class. He came home and gave me $1:
    Son: Mom, I want you to have this dollar.
    Me: Where did you get that?
    Son: My piggy bank. I want you to have it so that I can get more money.
    Me, completely confused: How is you giving me that dollar going to get you more money?
    Son: God will give it to me, or maybe the priest will.

    I could only deduce that they must have discussed tithing on a 4 year old’s level at Sunday School that day.

  25. During a winter-themed Vacation Bible School session years ago, I happened to be in earshot of the snack station while manning my station. The kids were having ice cream sundaes for snack that day, and the leader asked the children if they knew why Jesus was like the ice cream sundae.

    A few kids raised their hands and answered with things like, “Jesus is cool!” and “Jesus refreshes us!”, but one preschool-aged girl had a different idea. She raised her hand and said, “Jesus…has sprinkles on him?” I could barely contain my laughter. Kids definitely say the darndest things!

  26. Years ago, I was the catechist for my daughter’s first grade class. At the end of the year, our priest came to our classroom for a final review. One of the questions he posed to the kids was “What did Joseph do for a living?” None of the kids were volunteering for the answer, so I decided to remind them with the hint “Remember, he worked with his hands?” My daughter’s arm shot up and I was so proud that she was going to be the one that had the answer. Instead, she responded “Was he a massage therapist?” Now, I instruct 8th graders!

  27. My first graders are to learn their prayers and receive a star on the chart when they can say it to me. One little girl was praying the Our Father…”and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Egypt.”

  28. I was teaching a small group of 7th grade boys this past year and began our year together by posing the question “Who do you think Jesus is?” One of my most disconnected students answers “He is just a nice guy”. Another boy responded with “If he was so nice why did they crucify him?” This became the focus for our whole year.

  29. As the third grade class was reviewing the Act of Contrition I entered the the room with our Pastor to hear the children struggling through the last part of the prayer. , There was one outstanding voice that was leading the others as they recited “,,. to do penance, to sin no more…” .Then after a brief pause the child looked directly at Father , smiled and excitedly said, “and to avoid whatever leads him to sin….”

  30. Many years ago my then 3 year old daughter was singing as she was swinging. The words were clear. “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ is coming back again.” Precious memories.

  31. I was out one week and a substitute was called for my class. The director later told me that she overheard the following exchange:

    Sub: “My name is John”
    Student: “Are you a Baptist?”

  32. I sub in at religion class, but not often for the same class. However one night, I had a 3rd grade class where we were covering the commandments and in the last few minutes of class we got to “Keeping Holy the Lord’s Day”. As they were packing up to walk out the door, I mentioned that you should not be late to church because you miss a almost a third of the mass if you miss the first 5 to 10 minutes. A few weeks later, I was called for the same class. This time, they were covering the mass. Before we started the chapter, I asked what they already knew about the mass. The first answer I received, “You don’t want to be late, because you’ll miss a third of the mass if you miss the first 5 to 10 minutes”. I told our DRE, the best part was I found out they actually listened to me.

  33. While discussing the Mass with my third graders, the phrase ” say only the word and my soul shall be healed” caused a student to ask “What is the word?”

  34. ME (to my 1st graders): What did Mary say when Gabriel told her she would be the mother of Jesus?
    KID: Okay, I’ll do it.

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