Now that Isabella is five years old (where id the time go?!), Melanie and I have been talking about her education, which we expect to begin formally in the fall as homeschooling. While Melanie is taking the lead here, I want to be involved, especially in the subjects in which I have competence including her faith formation.
I want to make sure that all of our kids are better off than many of the kids I used to see in religious education, many of whom couldn’t name the Ten Commandments or the 12 Apostles and didn’t recognize who Adam or Noah were. Now, as I’ve chronicled here and on my Facebook page, it’s obvious that our four children are doing pretty well in this area and by their prayers and how they talk to us we know that they are developing a personal relationship with Christ. Yet I was emphasizing to Melanie how important it is that Isabella learn some things by rote as well. I want her to be able to answer the question, “Why did God create me?” I want her to be able to name the 12 Apostles and the Ten Commandments and to know the Patriarchs of the Old Testament and all that stuff that I didn’t learn in my hippy-dippy “Jesus is my pal” religious education back in the ’70s.
But Melanie assured me that Bella and the others are doing okay. For a five year old, Isabella is very advanced. And I saw proof of it this morning. Before breakfast, she was sitting on the couch with me and she picked a children’s book of the Way of the Cross. Even though she can’t read, she was able to identify by the images all of the Stations of the Cross and give them their proper names. She picked out St. Veronica and declared her to be her new favorite saint. In the back of the book she recognized the Regina Caeli, even though she cannot yet read, and then began to sing it. In Latin. A few minutes later, she went to take care business in the bathroom and while in there she regaled the whole house with the Litany of the Saints.
So I guess I don’t have to worry too much about whether she’s learning her faith. I don’t want to relax too much, but I think I don’t have to be afraid as long as she keeps reading good books, still loves to go to Mass, we keep praying with her, and we keep modeling our own faith to her. In the end, we have to leave the rest of it up to the Holy Spirit.
This parenting stuff is hard.