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Posts Tagged ‘parents’

Good class last night. We were very happy to see that ten of our 13 students braved the lousy weather to attend. Thank you, parents!

Our main focus was the Ten Commandments. We had lots of discussion and lots of questions. Those are the best classes.

We started with a story, telling the class the background that lead to God delivering the Commandments to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

We had volunteers read the passage from Exodus 20 that is the first mention of the Commandments. (The students were somewhat “atwitter” last night, and references to an “ass” (ie: jackass) and “alien” caused more than a little giggling.)

We distributed list of the traditional “Ten Commandments” that demonstrated how some different religions count them. For example, Catholics count the God-related commandments as the first three, while many Protestant churches count them as four. On the other end, Catholics divide the last two “you shall not covet…” Commandments into two separate statements, while most Protestant sects combine them into one. We pointed out this only a concern if they are talking to a Protestant friend about the 4th Commandment, for instance. A Protestant would be talking about the Commandment to respect the Sabbath, while the Catholic would be honoring his father and mother.

As we walked through and discussed the first four Commandments, we talked about some of these points.

With the first Commandment, we spent some time talking about false gods. In the time of Moses, the issue was not to worship the sun, the Earth, a statue, etc. We asked the students to think about some of the false gods people may encounter today. They came up with ideas like money, drugs, alcohol, fame, celebrities, and so on.  We connected the Commandment to relevant issues today.

The second Commandment, to not take the Lord’s name in vain, was fairly easy for them to grasp. One student did confess she had a lot of trouble with that one. We suggested that it was a challenge she should try to master with prayer.

We talked about the concept of a Sabbath and why most Christians consider Sunday the Sabbath, rather than the “seventh day” (Saturday.) We pointed out that many early Christian leaders wanted to make a distinction between their older Jewish faith and their new Christian religion. Designating Sunday, the day Christ rose from the dead, as the Sabbath was one way to do that. We also discussed that in today’s culture, we have largely gotten away from the concept of resting and avoiding work on the Sabbath, and not necessarily for the better.

As we discussed the fourth (Honor your father and mother.) Commandment, we emphasized several points. The Commandment may seem fairly obvious to fifth graders because they are still very dependent on their parents for the essentials of living. However, even ten and eleven year-olds may need to be reminded from time to time to love, respect and obey their parents. We pointed out that the main thrust of the Commandment was not towards children, but rather towards adults, especially adults whose parents are older and may depend on them. Role reversal. At the time the Commandments were written, it was not unusual for older, dependent tribe members who became a burden to be rejected or abandoned to die. While we typically don’t do that today, the Commandment is especially important when parents or grandparents grow older and need the younger family members’ love and assistance.

Next week, we will finish up with the last six Commandments, and they always generate some interesting discussion. How can you go wrong discussing murder, lying, theft, jealousy, adultery, and gossip?  Should be fun. Parents – come on out and enjoy the class. You are most welcome.

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Wow! Spring is in the air; the weather is nice; the end of the CCD year is in sight; and attention spans are dropping to goldfish level. We had a pretty good class last night, but Mrs. Rudolphi and I had to work for it.

We started off by covering the Sacrament of Holy Orders. This may not be the most exciting topic, so we whipped through it fairly quickly. We spent some time talking about the jobs of bishop, priests and deacons and what they entailed. I was somewhat surprised to learn that about half the class thought “Monsignor” was Monsignor Costigan’s first name. Huh?

We shifted gears to start our discussion of the Ten Commandments. In past years, this has been one of the best lessons of the year. There is lots of opportunity for discussion and questions.

We set the scene for how God relayed the commandments to Moses, and had volunteers read aloud the commandments from Exodus 20.

We pointed out that while these commandments are fairly short, there is a much larger body of work that expounds on and details the concepts they present.  Specifically, we mentioned the remainder of the first five books of the Bible, and the Jewish Talmud.

We distributed a chart that demonstrated how different religious count the commandments differently. For example, most American Protestant churches divide the Catholic first commandment (“I am the Lord your God…”) into two separate commandments. On the other hand, they combine the Catholic ninth and tenth commandments (coveting your neighbor’s wife and coveting your neighbor’s goods) into one, so it still works out to a total of ten.

We then got into a discussion of the first commandment which prohibits the worship of false gods. We talked about the concept of false gods in the time of Moses, and then asked “What are some false gods people worship today?” In other words, what are some of the things in today’s society that people can think are more important than God? The class picked up on this very quickly (Yea!), and started naming things like celebrities, entertainment (video games), money, fame, popularity, and so on. We emphasized the concept that the importance of any of these things can grow out of reason and assume the stature of a “false god.” Anything that comes between them and God can be a false god. We mentioned that as they grow into adults, they may know people or even be tempted themselves, by issues like gambling, drugs, alcohol and sex.

Next week, we will go through the remaining nine commandments and try to relate them to a 5th grader’s experience.  It should be interesting. Parents are invited to sit in.

Our last class will be April 24. While I doubt we will try to teach a normal lesson that night, we’ll have some activity planned that will put a closure on the year.

 

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We had a pretty good class this week. The students were reasonably well behaved and fairly engaged.

Although we intended to spend a little time wrapping up the Sacrament of Matrimony and then cover Holy Orders, we spent the entire class discussing Matrimony.

We began by discussing the concept of a permanent commitment and how important it is for a couple to be fully aware and prepared before getting married. While the Catholic Church makes it difficult to get out of a marriage, it also makes it difficult to get into it. Priests and other non-Catholic clergy frequently screen couples and can decline to marry them if they think the couple is not ready or right for each other. As we were discussing this, Mrs. Rudolphi (Where does she come up with this stuff?) announced, “That happened to me!” Huh? It turns out that Mrs. R was Protestant and her fiancée was Catholic. They first went to a Protestant minister and he declined to perform the ceremony because he believed the difference in their faiths was too much for them to overcome. That story was a bit of an eye opener for the class.

We discussed some of the specifics of the marriage ceremony and also the concept of fidelity. We also discussed the concept that in Matrimony, the bride and groom are the actual celebrants and the priest is a witness and blesses the union.

From there we said that Matrimony forms the basis for a Catholic family. We talked about responsibilities within families, including the responsibilities of children. We drew two columns on the white board and head one “adults” and the other “children.” We first asked the class to name responsibilities of the adults or parents in a family and we got the set of answers you would expect – cook dinner, financial support, teach children, etc. When we asked about the other side of the chart, the going was a little more difficult. Aside from household chores, the idea that they might have some responsibilities towards their parents was a totally foreign to them.

Mrs. Rudolphi and I introduced two concepts. (Parents, you can thank us later for this.) The first was to respect their parents; to listen to them; and to try to fulfill their parents’ wishes and expectations. In other words, “Don’t make your parents’ job of raising you difficult.”

The second concept was to give their parents the opportunity to spend time with each other. (Mrs. Rudolphi said “Date night!”) Don’t be so needy and demanding of their parents’ every waking minute that they never to spend any time with just them.

As an example, I related a conversation I had just this week with a mother of two elementary school-age children. She said she was dreading spring break, because one of her children has never learned how to entertain himself. He requires his mother to entertain him…all the time.  Every weekend and every break, he constantly nags her “What are we going to do now?” Fortunately, most of our class was amazed by the story.

Maybe, they will take that lesson home with them and, maybe, make their parents’ life just a little easier.  Hope springs eternal.

We are off next week for spring break, and then back for three classes. I plan to spend some time going over Holy Orders and then as much time as we can spare on the Ten Commandments.

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It was great to meet our students and parents last night. If you are reading this, you have found the blog. Congratulations! I’ll be updating our class activities and discussions on a weekly basis. For the most part I’ll post on Thursdays, but depending on my day-job workload, it may take until the weekend.

If want to see how it will look, feel free to browse through some of the entries from last year or the year before.

One thing I forgot to mention last night – We will have a regular class next week. I will take pictures of the students so I can create a “cheat sheet” to connect their names and faces. Then we’ll teach a lesson with whatever time we have remaining.

The following two Wednesdays (September 26 and October 3) will be a little different. I will be traveling for two weeks. I believe Father John will come and talk with the class on September 26th. On October 3rd, Cathy Scanlon will present a program for them over at the church. It will either be a tour of the church or a program on the vestments and instruments of the Mass.

In either case drop-off and pick-up will be in the classroom.

I’ll be back and get things going into a regular routine starting October 10th.

We’re looking forward to a great CCD year!

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