Tag Archives: confession

A busy day full of kids

We have had a busy week with little time for updates.

I spent most of Wednesday with children. Some of the experiences were pleasant, and others less so.

I was asked to work a career fair at a local elementary school. I don’t mind doing career fairs, but I had some concerns about doing one at an elementary school. I accepted because it was a close-by school and the wife of one of our faculty is a teacher there. I figured that fourth and fifth graders are old enough to grasp the concepts. I should have listened to the little voice that was telling me it was a mistake.

They had the various presenters set up in a noisy cafeteria. Every ten minutes a new class would come by and sit at my table for a short presentation. It turns out the entire fifth grade was off on a field trip that day. (Great planning there!) I think I spoke with one fourth grade class. More than half of the roughly 12 classes that came to my table were kindergarten or pre-k. As much as I love little kids, it is ridiculous to try to conduct a meaningful presentation on careers in science with a group of four, five and six year olds. It was a total waste of time and energy.

I sent the school a follow-up email. I was polite, but I shared my negative impressions with them.

Later that evening, we had our last CCD class of the year. A handful of parents and younger siblings also joined the party. I got the kids juiced up on chocolate chip cookies and ice cream sandwiches and then we had a “quiz bowl.” They drew random questions out of a bowl, with subjects including anything we had covered throughout the year. I had three teams – two of all-girls and one of the guys. It started off slow. None of the three teams were able to answer either of the first two questions. Then it started picking up.

I was a little surprised that the guy-team absolutely skunked the two girl-teams. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised. The guys were very competitive, while the girls were all a-twitter over it being the last class. They were having entirely too much fun giggling and cutting up.

I did get in one subtle “dig” at the parents who were present. One of my constant aggravations each year is the lack of any reinforcement many of my students get at home. For too many of my students, the only exposure they get to their faith is the 45-50 minute CCD classes once a week.

One way I know this is when we talk about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which should be received frequently, and is required at least once a year. In our discussions, I can tell that most of the class received the sacrament once, when they were six or seven years old and not since then.

So the question was; “What three sacraments can be received only once?” (The correct answer is “Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders.) One of the girl teams had the first two sacraments correct, but included the Sacrament of Reconciliation in as the third choice. So I commented:

“No, I’m sorry. I realize that many of you may have been to confession only once, but that’s not the way it’s supposed to be.”

I know it was a cheap shot, but it felt good anyway.

“Turn out the lights, the party’s over.”

Making a point…maybe

It’s been busy the past few days.

We had a great CCD class last Wednesday, the kind that gives you a reason to come back again.

The primary topic of the class was the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick. We started by talking about the concept and process of forgiveness in general terms – in everyday life as well as in confession.

I pulled the names of two volunteers out of a hat and we set up a role-playing game. I gave Makayla and Lindsey their assignments. Makayla was angry at Lindsey for something she had done. They got together with a couple of classmates and came up with a story. According to Makayla, Lindsey stole her diary and sold it to a TV station which put all her personal information on the air. (We are nothing if not dramatic.)

We set up an “Oprah Winfrey Show” to resolve their differences. They really got into their roles and played it up great. The rest of the class was highly engaged, perhaps a little too much so.

Initially Lindsey denied everything, but eventually owned up to the deed, said she was sorry and asked for forgiveness. Makayla forgave her but asked for Lindsey to reveal some of her own personal information to make them even.

We used this little melodrama to demonstrate the four-step process of forgiveness.

1.) The offender admits to the act.

2.) The offender expresses sorrow and asks for forgiveness.

3.) The injured party forgives.

4.) The offender offers some reparation to atone for the injury they caused.

I was a little surprised how well my two actresses got into their roles. They were really great, from their ad libbed lines to their body language. They were very funny and it was a bunch of fun.

And maybe, just maybe, some of those 5th graders may actually absorb and remember some of it. I’m not taking bets, but I can always dream.