Thursday, January 24, 2008

Too Much God?

Here's our basic philosopy:

I don't think it's very different from most of the visitors to AWTY, actually. In a nutshell, we love our children and want to be together forever with them in Heaven someday. If the children grow up knowing how much God loves them, they want to love Him back. If they love Him back, they want to know Him and serve Him. It's our job to provide the best atmosphere we can for this to happen in our home.

Here's how we try to do that:

* By consistently teaching all the rules and aids to leading holy lives, especially the frequent reception of the Sacraments.
* By reading and having available wholesome books.
* By providing the tools and instruction for learning, without making it drudgery.
* By closely monitoring possible negative influences, including the media and dangerous company and places.
* By teaching the value of purity, through modesty (dress), self respect (behaviour), and the love of the Immaculate Heart.
* By appealing to all the senses in wholesome ways ~ through music, games, and a beautiful and orderly home.
* By having lots of fun! Holiness does not have to be dull!

Is this God-centric philosophy overkill? I read a Catholic mother complain once about how she thought it was unnecessary, and perhaps even harmful to a child to "harp" on the Faith. But, if "harping" means directing every subject, every experience toward a lesson in faith, the popes counsel us that we should, indeed, harp. Pope Pius XI, in His Encyclical on Christian Education, agrees with Pope St. Pius X, saying:

Whatever a Christian does even in the order of things of earth, he may not overlook the supernatural; indeed he must, according to the teaching of Christian wisdom, direct all things towards the supreme good as to his last end; all his actions, besides, in so far as good or evil in the order of morality, that is, in keeping or not with natural and divine law, fall under the judgment and jurisdiction of the Church.

I think it's a common misconception with some that "too much Faith" will produce the opposite result intended, that children will get sick of hearing about God interspersed through math and science, and that a lot of eye-rolling will go on behind the teacher's back. (I was saddened to read this idea in a Catholic homeschooling mother's blog.)

I guess this certainly could happen if a child felt God was being crammed down his throat. But, how could a child feel this way if, from his infancy, his most nurtured moments occurred before a crucifix, if Heavenly birthdays were celebrated with as much cake and joy as family days, if conversations of love and affection always ended up referring to Heavenly Loved Ones, too?

I guess the question is "Can you have too much love in your life?"


Marie said...

I don't get that vibe from you at all. There is a big difference between raising kids in a godly way and shoving it down their throats.

My mom is a Pentacostal (converted from Catholicism when she was pg with me). I was raised in churches where people spoke in tongues, got slain by the spirit, etc. In fact even though it clearly states in the Bible that SOME get the gift of tongues,the attitude in the churches was that if you didn't speak in tongues there was a problem. I don't even like to sing out loud, and here were people making me feel like a bad Christian for not dancing around like a crazy person.

Worse, it was all about hellfire and damnation and "end times." Even as a very young girl I would wake up in the middle of the night and go make sure the water in the bathroom was running clear, the moon hadn't turned red, and that my family hadn't been "raptured" away.

This is bad. I don't get that sense from you at all. Visiting your blog is like sitting down for tea in front of a fire with a good, supportive friend. Your kids are blessed to have such a mother.

Lisa said...

Oh, Marie, you are so sweet! I think that's the about the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me. &:o)

Oh, my goodness, though ~ you know, you find the "end timers" in Catholic groups too, sometimes. ~shudder~ That is such a sad focus to have. And, indeed, NOT a very healthy one for children to grow up under!

Bia said...

Lisa, your philosophy is just inspiring. John Paul II referred to the family as the "domestic church", and with that in mind we should be directing all of life's lessons towards lessons in faith.

God bless.

Alexandra said...

"Can you have too much love in your life?"

I agree, if it's a natural rhythm of the household transmitted in a loving way from birth then it's not a 'turn-off'. Christ's message is love - what could be more appealing to children.

SuzyQ said...

The way you describe how you bring your children to God is just how our family strives too.
Nurturing Faith and love of God in children can only bring forth good fruits.
Your family is a wonderful example of the blessings God gives to those who trust in him:0)