My stomach filled with butterflies as I walked back into the parish classroom to begin another year as a 3rd grade catechist. When I worked over the summer preparing my lesson plans, I was full of enthusiasm and excitement about teaching the faith once again; however, facing a new class of 23 students found me extremely nervous.
My mind focused on the difficulty I had last year getting my footing as a new teacher. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions from week to week while dealing with the struggles of discipline, learning how to present the material, and finding myself inspired by the students’ demonstrations of faith.
Perhaps I stress a little too much over teaching one hour each week, but I feel the weight and responsibility of teaching and representing the faith.
As I set up for my first class of the new year I took a few minutes to quiet myself and pray, asking God for strength, courage, guidance and blessings to fulfill His will in the classroom. Then I called upon the Holy Spirit to work through me to bring the children closer to God.
By remembering to put God first, I felt calmed. The children and I had fun in our lesson, learned about God and each other, and the hour flew by. Late in the week, two mothers with children in my class mentioned how much their sons enjoyed the class, which helped me feel reassured and renewed.
Parents have the primary responsibility and vocation for teaching and living the faith by example, yet it is an important responsibility to work as a catechist. Teaching children brings a profound impact on our own lives and personal relationships with God. Through instructing and witnessing the faith to them, we are reminded of God’s awesome love and the power of faith. Witnessing God through the eyes of children sharpens the focus on my own faith journey. We must learn to love and trust Him simply, as a child. God’s loving embrace reaches us all on our own path towards the cross.