Teaching to Generation Me (aka Gen Y; Millennials)

Recently I had the pleasure of reading Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled – and More Miserable Than Ever Before (Jean M Twenge, M.D., Free Press, 2006). In her book, Dr. Twenge, herself a member of “Generation Me” (aka, Millennials, Gen Y), those born in the 70s through the 90s, uses findings from a large intergenerational research study (1.3 million respondents over six decades) to reveal how profoundly different today’s […]

Why Do We Give Money on First Communions?

A few days ago, I posted about the Easter Season being a “festival of sacraments.” Well, today is one such day as we celebrate my nephew’s First Communion. It is a beautiful bright and sunny spring day…a “storybook” First Communion-type day. Of course the weather has nothing to do with the encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist, but God IS revealed through the beauty and wonder of creation and the nice weather serves to reinforce […]

Help Catholic Children Grow Into Catholic Adults

If we want our young Catholics to grow into adult Catholics, then maybe we ought to start treating them like “equals.” As catechists, those we teach are typically baptized and in full communion. They may not yet be confirmed but they are no less a disciple of Christ than any of us adults. Perhaps that’s why Pope Benedict XVI spoke to the youth of Brazil in the following terms: “You are the youth of the […]

Helping Children to Cope with Disaster

We all struggle to deal with tragic and terrible events such as the shooting spree at Virginia Tech on April 16. It is especially important to be aware of how children may be affected by such violent realities. As catechists, we can provide comfort, reassurance and stability. The shooting at Virginia Tech will be the “Columbine” for the children we are teaching. Witnessing television reports about such violent events can result in fear and confusion. […]

Will They Be Back?

My 8th graders were confirmed last weekend and then had Monday off (because of a state holiday in Illinois). This coming Monday will be the first post-Confirmation class and I’m curious to see who shows up. We’ve emphasized over and over that Confirmation is not graduation but is the beginning of a new chapter in their spiritual journey. I’m told that the return factor at the parish is pretty good but this is my first […]

A Catechist's S.O.S.

Here is an e-mail I received from a catechist who is seeking support in the midst of a difficult situation. I’ve responded to her personally with my suggestions. With her permission, I’m posting it here with the hope that catechists more familiar than I am with teaching pre-school, K, and primary ages might respond. I’ve also changed her name…we’ll call her Natalie. To respond to Natalie, just click on “Add a Comment” at the end […]

God, Sports, and Religious Education

I’m from Chicago, a BIG sports town (bigger than ever this week with Da Bears in Da Superbowl!). Often, sports can be a thorn in the side for catechists: students miss religious ed. classes because of games, tournaments, and practices and, worse yet, they and their families often miss Mass on Sunday because of games and tournaments. These are serious issues that need to be addressed. On the other hand, I’m a huge sports fan […]

What's This Obsession with FUN?

As I surf around various web pages and blogs where catechists are in discussion with one another, I can’t help but notice an obsession that many catechists have with the idea of making their classes FUN. Now, before you start thinking that I’m some kind of sourpuss, let me explain that I know what catechists are talking about. They are concerned when kids are bored and rightly so. However, I think that our goal is […]

Traditional Prayers: Family Heirlooms

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be taking aside each student and checking to see if he or she has taken to heart (memorized) a certain number of traditional Catholic prayers as spelled out by the parish curriculum. Before I do that, however, I plan to explain to the young people the importance and the value of knowing traditional prayers. Kids sometimes think that memorizing is a waste of time. But taking to heart […]

How Do I Get Them to See?

One of the frustrations I experience as a catechist is trying to get the young people to recognize the gravity of the material we are covering. One week, we were learning about the cross of Jesus. What could be more profound? A couple of students had the giggles that night and couldn’t seem to control themselves. I try to handle discipline problems with an even hand and a calm demeanor, but I admit that inside […]

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