When registering our first-born for her very first catechism class, I nearly choked when I was informed that all parents were expected to teach at least one class throughout the seven years of their child’s Catholic education. With a very limited budget, all teachers in the program were parent-volunteers and everyone (including me) was expected to do their share.
I was suddenly struck with an overwhelming bout of nausea at the mere thought of trying to teach something which I felt I seriously lacked the ability to teach.
My cheeks must have gone from rosy to crimson; probably redder than had I branded the word “hypocrite” across my forehead … because that’s exactly what I felt like.
Yes, I had been brought up Catholic, attended Catholic primary and middle schools, gotten married and had my children baptised in the church, but there was still so much that I didn’t understand.
For whatever reason, I viewed Sunday school and catechism teachers as having a certain standard for which I didn’t exactly adhere to. At the time, I really didn’t go to church as much as I meant to, and I didn’t always agree with all of the church’s views and I certainly didn’t know the bible inside-out; in other words, I wasn’t perfect.
By my daughter’s second year, however, I had worked up the courage to volunteer as an assistant, and within a couple of years after that, I was ready to take on teaching. Thanks to the help of manuals and other teaching supplies, I quickly came to realize that I really was more qualified than I had initially given myself credit for.
It truly has been a positive experience as my children enjoy having a parent (in this case, me) teach their class. And as we’ve explored bible stories and parables, I’ve come to realize that I instinctively know most of them, either because I learnt them as a child or because they simply coincide with my personal beliefs. And those stories that I don’t remember learning, the children and I get to learn them together.
Now, whenever new parents to the world of catechism confide their fear of teaching a class and ask my advice as to whether or not they should take on the task, I try to reassure them. After all, we aren’t memorizing bible verses; we are learning the difference between right and wrong. We aren’t judging anyone; we are learning to accept others as they are and not judge them. Nobody is perfect and catechism teachers needn’t be either.
As parents, just like our children, we are constantly growing, learning new things, changing our views based on what we’ve learnt, and improving. Teaching catechism is no different, and I’m glad GOD gave me the strength to give it a shot.