Faith Is Caught, Not Taught

2 Mar

However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.  (Dt 4:9)

There are probably some parishioners who get tired of hearing me say this, especially around sacramental preparation times.  However, I am noted for telling parents that, at our parish school, we do not teach the faith.

That, generally, gets a raised eyebrow or two, especially from the ones who haven’t heard that before or who may have forgotten it.

I, then, go on to say that we do not teach the faith, all we can do is attempt to reinforce the faith that is being taught at home.

After all, if we teach values in the classroom — you should not lie, you should not cheat, you should not hurt others — but the students, at home, are regularly exposed to lying (tell whoever it is that I’m not home) or cheating (tell the cashier that you are under 9 years old so we get the child’s rate) or hurtful relationships between parents or children, what good will our teaching do?  We may have the words; but, the actions at home teach louder than our words.

Parents are the primary instructors in the faith.

And, you know what, I am not the first person to say that.  This morning’s reading from Deuteronomy told the people that ages ago.

Do not forget what you have been taught, do not let them slip from your mind or from your daily practice, and, above all else, teach those things to your children.  And remember, teaching is most powerful not by word but by deed.  Show your children what you are teaching and it will be a lesson that they will remember for life.

FAITH ACTION:  We are often guarded when it comes to sharing our faith, even with family and friends.  Today, share an aspect of your faith with someone — make your faith public.