I hope you are enjoying the start to another year of Family Formation. Before you get too into your routine for this year I wanted to pass along a piece of advice. Before you teach any lesson to the children of your class, write on the top of each lesson, “What has this to do with Jesus Christ?” Read the lesson thoroughly before you answer the question. Then, answer it and plan around your answer. By doing this very simple thing you re-frame how the lesson is presented, where you want to go with the lesson, even the answers that you will give to students in the class.
Catechesis is always about getting people, in your case children, in touch with the person of Jesus Christ. All we do should lead them to the living person of Jesus Christ, to help them develop a relationship with Him. This is done through prayer for them and with them but also through teaching. The more we tell people about someone who they already love, the deeper that love grows.
In framing the presentation of each lesson around answering the question, “What has this to do with Jesus Christ?” you provide a strong connection to the person of Jesus Christ. If you continue to do this with each lesson, and I highly encourage you to do so, you build a structure that cannot easily be dismantled in a child’s mind. What I mean by that is there is a tendency in teaching the faith to present each topic as a separate thing to be learned. The danger in this is the fact that as children get older they tend to pick and choose what they want to believe in a lesson or any aspect of Church teaching. However, if you present the lesson as always being connected to Christ (and every lesson should have a strong connection to Christ) then the idea of being able to pick and choose what to believe becomes much harder. The student will realize if they attempt to bypass this teaching or doctrine of the faith, they are bypassing or denying something that Christ said, did, or set up. It will become very apparent to them that their will is set up against Christ instead of how most people today view doctrines that they disagree with (i.e. doctrine is a matter of personal opinion because doctrines come from an impersonal Church who makes arbitrary decisions about what to believe).
Always remember that catechesis is a craft. The simple tool mentioned above is a very powerful one that can mold the children in your classroom for years to come. Practiced effectively it yields good fruit.
Good luck to you all this year and my God bless you.
Yours in Christ,