As my title implies, I am frustrated. I'm also failing my kids.
Argh. This is driving me up a wall.
I'm supposed to be dedicating my Tuesday nights to delving into the Old Testament and the history behind our most revered Catholic traditions. I'm supposed to be explaining the link between Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac and God's Sacrifice of Jesus. I'm supposed to be teaching these kids why the Passover of Moses prefigured the Passover meal of Christ that we celebrate at each and every Mass.
Instead, I'm repeating concepts that should've been addressed in 1st or 2nd grade... TO NO AVAIL.
I'm starting to feel almost frantic. We're now more than a month into classes and these kids haven't even touched their text books. How can they? They wouldn't have clue one what was in them because they have absolutely NO FOUNDATION with which to understand the material!
I just... I don't know what to do.
For October, we've been tackling the Rosary. Do you know most of my class claims they've never had a rosary before? Some had never seen one!
THIS IS SIXTH GRADE!
How did they go six years without seeing a rosary???
And their prayers. Oh Lord... help me! These kids don't even know their prayers! Apostle's Creed? What's that? Prayer to their Guardian Angel? Pfft... what the heck are those?
I am so heartbroken over how badly we've taught our students. I'm heartbroken over how little schooling their parents have done regarding their faith. And I truly feel overwhelmed with how little time I have to begin filling in the missing pieces.
So I've been doing what I can. I've broken down things to their most basic levels. Sign of the Cross, the Trinity, Our Lady's role in leading us to Christ.
But still they look at me glossy-eyed. Still they come to me week after week with the same questions on the most basic aspects of our religion.
Today, during a quiz, I had SIX students (out of my 14) ask me what Christians were. SIX! And another 4 couldn't tell me that Jesus was Jewish.
It's not their fault. If anything, I feel like it's mine because I'm apparently not doing a good enough job explaining these basics to them well enough that they understand them from week-to-week. I have to admit, though, that I just can't believe they're this lacking in their Catholic formation. I just can't.
My plan of action is to simply keep going. If I don't get to this year's lesson set, I guess I won't get to it. I'm going to have to talk to my DRE about this. What good is explaining those higher-level concepts to them if they don't understand the foundation for which they're meant for? So I'll keep searching out the cracks and filling them in with all I've got. I want these kids, if nothing else, to understand that we have a God who loves us, who created us to be His family, who provides for us as a loving Father, who can and will punish us as a loving Father should, and who will eventually call us home as this Earth is only a temporary proving-grounds.
I want them to understand this. I want them to see the proof of this throughout Salvation History... throughout the motion of Divine Providence in their own lives. I want to give them the tools with which to SEE Divine Providence in action for themselves so that they can give thanks for it and help it along through their charitable deeds for others.
I want them to be proud of their faith. I want them to know how very blessed they are to be part of the Church.
To do that, they need to know God. And too many of them simply do not. Too many of them think of Him as this old man in the sky who sent a baby boy to create Christmas trees and angels for us. We don't really need to think about Him until we're about to die. He's not really active in our lives. He's far away and He's busy with other things... other people.
I want to teach them that they are - each of them - the most important thing God cares about.
It seems so simple, doesn't it?