The question is the engine

Catechism.

This is a word you probably don’t use on a daily basis.  You’ve heard it, I’m sure.  But what does it mean?

A catechism can be defined as a “series of questions and answers that systematically teach a body of information” (Hunt & Hunt, 1999).

What does this matter to me or even to you?  Well, I’m a parent.  And you possibly are a parent (or will be someday).  Deuteronomy 6 makes very clear that I should teach my children diligently His words.  Ephesians instructs us to bring our children up in the instruction of the Lord.

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I don’t know about you, but to me this is an intimidating task.  God has entrusted B and I with these children to teach them about God and point them to Him.  Noel Piper, in her book Treasuring God in our Traditions (I highly recommend it!) says, “God can only be inherited from God.”  This takes a lot of pressure off of me as a parent.  She goes on to say that, “We only become God’s children through our faith, not through our parents’ faith.” Again, some weight falls off my shoulders.  I cannot “save” my child.  I can’t force them to be God’s children.  God doesn’t expect me to do that and He knows I can’t do that.  However, I can, as Noel Piper says, “help them know him and understand him in ways that prepare them to believe in his name.” (Piper, 2007)

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So, what does this have to do with the catechism?  Well, I have found that a great way to focus my home is by teaching the catechism.  Let me tell you what this looks like for us.

I start with one catechism question.  There are several questions in the resource I’m using and there’s no exact science on which one I started with.  Honestly, I just started with the ones that seemed easiest for my kiddos.

Question:  “Who made you?”

Answer:  “God made me.”

I repeat the question numerous times to my children.  When I first start asking, I say both the question and the answer.  Eventually the children start answering it on their own.  This question is the engine for other activities that go on in our home.  Once I have a question that we are focusing on I tailor the books I read, the songs I sing, what I pray aloud with them, even the scripture I speak aloud.  Here’s some examples.

Song: God Made Me by Randall Goodgame (All of the slugs and bugs cds are wonderful!!!)

Book: God Made Me by Roger Priddy

Scripture:  Psalm 139:13-16, Genesis 1:27

A neat idea for older children when talking about the catechism of God creating us– would be to travel to the Creation Museum.  There are so many ways you can teach your children about this one question.  (P.S. After I wrote this post I found these preschool activities about the creation story) 

My kids are two years old so I have set a goal of teaching them at least five questions and answers throughout the year.  Each child is different and obviously depending on their ages you can even set a goal to learn one a week or one a month.  Below I am posting some other ideas, some of the resources that I use both in book form and websites. 

I am learning more every day how difficult it is to focus our children on God’s truth in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life.  But it is critical, non-negotiable.  So we have to find ways that work best for our families on how to execute this task.  I’ve included suggestions in this post–just ideas that I thought some might find helpful.  Sisters in Christ, fellow moms, we’re in this together!  If you have ideas please share by commenting on this post.  I would love to know what other moms are doing!

Ideas on how to reinforce the question

  • Post the question and answer somewhere in the home for all to see.
  • Plan a writing activity where the children have to express what they think about the question.
  • Provide an opportunity for the children to share the question and answer to others.
  • Create a hands on activity where the question takes the form of a visual to help them remember.

Resources (books)

Resources (websites)

Hunt, S., & Hunt, R. (1999). Big truths for little kids. (p. 5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
Piper, N. (2007). Treasuring god in our traditions. (pp. 17-18). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.