May 4, 2018

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

When it comes to our faith and Creator, our children are listening

Patti LambLast Sunday marked our final religious education class for the year. I served as the assistant teacher to my faith-filled friend, Mandy, who took the lead with this ministry of bringing Christ to our group of fourth‑graders.

Each week required a lesson plan explaining important aspects of our faith—Bible stories, prayers, sacraments and much more—we hoped to impart to these 10-year-olds.

Mandy and I hope those children walked away from our class knowing more about their faith and recognizing it as a treasure. But after that last class, we agreed that the group opened our eyes to many important reminders. We made a whole list, but we decided to share our top takeaways.

1. Our kids—your kids—all kids are listening. As much as it may not seem like our kids are listening to us, Mandy and I can affirm that they are. Each Sunday, our students would amaze us with what they shared. Their little ears hear it all. Here are just a few of the comments the students made:

“My mom says we need to pray for those who are mean to us because those people are hurt and they need love more than anybody.”

“My dad says it’s ‘win or learn,’ not ‘win or lose.’ You can always learn from a time when you don’t come out on top.”

“Sometimes when I listen to the words of songs on the radio, it’s not as much fun to sing along anymore. A lot of the songs have mean words or talk about ladies’ bodies in a way that doesn’t show respect.”

“Last week, my mom asked me twice to make my bed, and I said I didn’t hear her. But I really did.”

“My mom says people mostly put stuff on Facebook that makes them look good, but they don’t post when they have a cavity at the dentist or they get a speeding ticket.”

2. They are curious about their faith, their Creator. They have questions—good ones—and they are thirsty little sponges. These sweet children are on the edge of growing up in a nonsensical world, and they value direction.

They wanted to know if bad people will go to heaven. Several children asked about the end of the world. One boy asked if God truly hears every prayer. One little girl asked how God could forgive someone who shot students at a school. They all wanted to know why bad things happen to good people. Week after week, they came to us with wonderful questions.

And we told them the truth: We don’t have all the answers. We said that we can’t explain everything, but we tried to convey this: God’s heart is huge, and he always forgives if asked and only wants us to come back to himself. Nothing can separate us from him.

3. God smiles on the parents of these children who bring them to us early on Sunday mornings. You’re fulfilling the promise you made at your son or daughter’s baptism, and that’s awesome. No one can make every class, and we understand that life gets busy. But it’s been a joy and a privilege to spend time with your kids.

To Mike, Gavin, Logan, Macyn, Sarah, Evie, Macyn, Margaret, Abbey, Erin, Katie, Caden, and Zach: Thanks for helping Mrs. Mason and me to deepen our faith and grow closer to God. You’ve taught us much, and our hearts are full.

Remember our closing chant: God is good—all the time!

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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