Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teaching the Faith to teens

It seems like every few months I get involved in a discussion about teenagers and catechesis. (Which is funny, since my kids are all under 8!)  Today it's going on over at Simcha Fisher's blog on the Register.

Anyway, I wanted to point you all to a great article by Fr. Dwight Longenecker on teaching teens about the faith.  Some of the advice applies to non-Catholic families as well, so if you plan to have teenagers some day, it's probably worth a read and a bookmark for future reference!

Longenecker focuses on what I think is a huge problem for many families trying to raise children in a society that seems hostile, or at least indifferent, to their faith:
Many parents view the teenage years as difficult. They are usually so if the parents have not understood how the critical instinct is crucial to positive adolescent development. Oppressive parents continue to use methods that were appropriate for young children. They expect their teenagers to obey without question and to accept the authority of their parents blindly. This is a recipe for disaster.
 He gives concrete advice on how to handle a teenager's questions, and how to give your kids a faith that we'll be theirs,  not a punishment forced on them by overly authoritarian parents.   And while he draws heavily on the work of Msgr. Guissani, the founder of Communion and Liberation, I think the  approach to catechism and doubts would work for anyone raising kids in the Judeo-Christian tradition.   (I don't know enough about Eastern Religions to know if a Hindu or Buddhist would find this helpful.)

Anyway, give it a read! I apologize in advance for the lousy choice of text-color.  I used to be able to find this piece on other sites, but it seems to have disappeared!

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