dimanche, juillet 08, 2007

My Intell Article from Saturday

Create a teachable moment
By Elizabeth Intelligencer Journal
Published: Jul 07, 2007 12:01 AM EST
If you are a parent trying to raise your kids with spiritual values in a culture that doesn't support them, you know that teachable moments are often grabbed on the fly.
Summertime offers parents a chance to slow down and deliberately create those moments with their children.
A break from peer pressure (yours and theirs), these months offer you and your kids time to enjoy one another's company in ways that can open all of you up to intimacy with each other and with God.
Here's a recent example from my own family life:
I have an almost 10-year-old son, a freckle-faced boy who loves adventure stories, studies karate and still has a stuffed animal collection. When he is good, he is close to seraphic. When he is tired, hungry or mad at his sister he also acts like an angel — a fallen one.
Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to see both sides of his personality. Sitting by himself in the front of the church where I was preaching, he stood up at the right times, sat quietly through the sermon, came up to receive the Eucharist and was generally the model of a well-behaved child.
Driving out of the parking lot that morning, I complimented him on his church etiquette.
That afternoon was quite a different tale. Some of our older neighbors — well beloved and respected in our community — had invited us over for an afternoon of hiking in their woods.
Splashing in the creek was followed by afternoon tea on their porch — the perfect scene for polite conversation.
My son and his sister fought over the cookies, a guerrilla war that eventually resulted in his stalking out with the (unfortunately) spoken hope that he would never be asked to return.
"Your children must be a trial to you," said the husband sympathetically as I muttered my thanks and slunk toward my car, where said children were sitting in the back gobbling up Goldfish left over from some previous trip.
Ordinarily, I might have scribbled a quick e-mail apologizing for the children's appalling lack of comportment and left it at that.
This time I recognized the teachable moment — and seized it.
As soon as the children stepped through the door, out came the thank-you notes. As I recall, Colin's note read something like this: "Thank you for the nice time. I'm sorry I was rude. Please tell me what I can do to make it up to you."
Mulling over his note, I saw that, without naming them as such, Colin already knew some important things about life and about love.
He was repentant: He knew he'd screwed up.
He asked for forgiveness, which can only come out of a relationship in which repentance has occurred.
And he offered to make restitution.
We are a family that tries, sometimes with more success than others, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and His teachings. One child attends a parochial school, where prayer is integrated into the curriculum. I've spent evening prayer time with the other since he was small. My children have been part of their parents' church communities since they were infants.
But if kids don't have opportunities to integrate their values into the fabric of their lives, then all the sermons and youth group socials in the world will be like empty garments they can cast off when they leave our care.
There are lots of voices that offer alternatives to our faith communities.
Don't think that your child isn't hearing them.
With God's grace, you can be a resource for your children as they are seeking answers to life's big questions.
Take a values break this summer. Volunteer as a family.
Walk in the woods and talk about what you see.
Read a religious-themed book together.
Grasp that teachable moment and you will be laying the foundations in this world of competing voices and values, not only for a faith that goes the distance, but also for memories both you and your children will treasure.

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