I grew up making fun of homeschoolers. It was a way of life I didn’t understand. And now we have decided to homeschool our own children. One of the many reasons is because I truly believe that sitting still for 7 hours and reading from a textbook is not really learning. I get excited thinking about learning fractions from baking or working with daddy in the woodshop; of all the field trips and experiences we will get to have- life is one big education!
Then we had prayer time last night. We asked the kids to sit still and recite their prayers. While it is very important for them to know how to sit still and to memorize their prayers, that is not all there is to be learned about the faith. I realized that to sit still and learn your prayers is teaching in much of the same way that I’m trying avoid.
I think many well intentioned families have turned their kids off to religion by only applying that same approach to faith: sit still a recite your prayers or be quiet and go to Mass.
It is important to eventually be able to sit still and recite the rosary. It is essential to learn to be quiet and sit in Mass. God definitely speaks to us in the quiet of our hearts. But, it has to be age appropriate. And, sitting still and being quiet can’t be all there is to faith. If so, we are missing out on life being one big spiritual education: Who are we? How did we get here? Why is life hard? What is the point?
To pass on the faith means that you are letting your offspring witness your lived experience with the Trinity on a daily basis. It’s more that sitting still (which again is definitely essential!) It’s talking, singing, crying, laughing, etc. Just yesterday Timothy pointed out to me all the features of the Sacred Heart: a heart, a cross, fire, crown of thorns, blood. When I asked him what all the fire around the Sacred Heart meant, he said: “Love.” He told me today God heard his prayers when he asked for help getting his poopies out. He is beginning to grasp the idea of a relationship with God in the way a 4 year old can.
But for many, we are missing an important element of that relationship of faith: The Holy Spirit. I believe that the Holy Spirit is the key to entering into the faith, to living it out, and to successfully handing it on.
The Holy Spirit. The forgotten person of the Trinity. Jesus is easy to grasp because he has a human nature. God is comprehendable because of creation and because we have earthly fathers. But a dove? A tongue of fire? It’s much harder to intellectually grasp the concept of the Holy Spirit.
That’s why I’m excited for Fr. Dave Pivonka’s new series called “The Wild Goose.”
It just finished it’s fundraising to create a 14-part video series that will be available for free December 2015. The goal of the videos will be to invite us into a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit. So in the meantime, you can read a great article on the Holy Spirit by Fr. Dave called “The Forgotten Person of the Trinity” here:
May your education of faith be much more than sitting still and being quiet. May your children embrace a life of faith lived in the Spirit.
Happy Feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (yesterday)
and Immaculate Heart of Mary (today)!