Alex, Alex, Alex (a 7QT post)

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This is a post about this boy of mine:

___1___

Finger games are all the rage in our house right now, at least for the two older boys. Alex brought us this gem from school the other day: “What do you think they played before they had scissors and paper? ‘Rock rock rock. Rock rock rock.’?”

___2___

Monday after school, we stayed outside enjoying the warm weather while we waited for Julianna’s bus to arrive. Alex was trying to dribble a tennis ball (yes, I do mean “dribble”) and bounce it off the garage door while Michael came toddling along, proud of himself as he could be for still being on his feet. Alex threw the ball, which bounced in front of Michael and then smacked him square in the middle of his forehead. If he’d tried, he couldn’t have been that accurate.

 ___3___

Speaking of boy-related self-damage: Last weekend, Christian and I went on an ice skating date. We were gone for five hours, of which we talked nonstop for 4 3/4 hours, about kids, about loves lost, about friends and how they’re doing, about charity and how to use money…and when we got home, Alex greeted us with, “P. and I were wrestling on the trampoline, and I cracked my tooth.” He was so matter-of-fact about it, I rolled my eyes. And then I looked at it. Half the tooth was missing. And part of the one next to it.

Naturally, this happened on Saturday, so we had to wait until Monday. On Monday I discovered that our dentist is only open every other Monday, and only till 2p.m. a couple other days a week. We ended up going to a pediatric dentist, and I think we may need to transfer there. After all, Alex is only #1. I have #3 and #4 coming up through the ranks of boyhood, and if this is any indication, well, we need a full-time dentist.

___4___

This week, Alex has demonstrated a skill I didn’t know he had–an appropriate one for the child of a mother who writes, as it involves some serious language thought. I’m going to start callling him the Pun-ster.

For instance:

Why was the dinosaur strong? Because it had dino-might!

Why was the dinosaur a bomb? Because it was dyna-might!

Why was the person poking the girl’s dress? Because it was a polka-dot!

(update: at 12:11 p.m., Alex comes running upstairs: “Mommy, I just came up with another joke! What kind of wolf wears clothes?” (wait for it…) “A WEAR-WOLF!”)

___5___

Last weekend Alex played Edmund in a children’s review of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. He really enjoyed theater, although he thought it was embarrassing to have girls holding his hand and hugging him. 🙂 So it begins.

___6___

We also had his fall parent-teacher conference last night. His teacher said everyone loves him; he’s empathetic and helpful and considerate of everyone. Sniff-sniff. We also got his standardized test results, which confirm his intelligence. I got to thinking about my own test results from years past, and I’m pretty sure I was always in the 96-+ percentile across the board. For the first time it made me realize what a freak I was for that. LOL

___7___

Sorry to hit you with substance at this late date, but I’d like perspectives. I remember in school always thinking that my religious formation was too easy, the answers too obvious. It didn’t bother me at that time, but since then I’ve been very concerned to make sure that formation and catechesis deals with reality. Alex is only two weeks away from his first reconciliation now, and as we go through things with him, it seems like he’s seeing it, too. Almost rolling his eyes at how obvious the answers are, and the connections between the Scripture stories and the sacrament. And the examples he comes home with from school don’t ring true to me. Like, it’s sinful to push someone down on the playground. Yes, but I mean, who really does that? It seems like it would be too easy to think, “Well, I’m a pretty good person, I don’t do stuff like that, obvious sins, so I must not really need all this.” To me, this does not facilitate proper awareness of one’s faults. But Christian does roll his eyes at me and tell me, “Kate, he’s in the second grade.” We-ell, yes, that’s true. But I feel like my religious formation stalled out at a second-grade level, it was always shallow, never digging deep enough to be real, and the only reason it became so was because I went looking myself. So, what do you think? How do you navigate the narrow path between too much and woefully insufficient?

Whew–on that note…have a great weekend!

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 193)

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12 thoughts on “Alex, Alex, Alex (a 7QT post)

  1. As far as #7, you may ask who pushes other kids down at the playground, but you have three boys and you’ll probably find out that happens more often than you think.
    I agree though that the state of religious education is abysmal. From what I’ve seen the level of thought and application to life doesn’t move much beyond your example. Even young adult ministries tend to be very shallow and not thought provoking at all.

    • I watched a talk given by the late Fr. Richard Hogan recently, in which he discussed the paradigm shift between the pre-V2 and post-V2 methods of catechesis–essentially he said the old was right, but the language doesn’t connect anymore, so it doesn’t mean anything to modern audiences; the new is problematic; but the solution is the Theology of the Body–TOB is a new way of teaching the total faith, which “marries” the old and new and helps them interface. Very interesting talk.

  2. Colleen

    I am not sure how to answer your question. I was a convert and had no history of my own to look back on. But I would look for teachable moments all the time. I remember once my son doing something and I told him he needed to go to confession. Then I realized I was making it sound like a punishment! Wrong! So I used that moment to tell him that confession was a grace, a gift, a celebration of the loving mercy of the Father. And how blessed we are!
    I talked a lot to them about conscience too. I had a very sensitive conscience and so I talked to them a lot about good guilt and bad guilt.
    Just a couple of thoughts for you.

  3. Hi Kathleen,
    My daughter is in preparation classes for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, at this time, also! Not only with this Sacrament…but others, as well…I often feel that the Faith is being “watered down” and/or that the “substance” and “depth” of what needs to be taught is being “side-stepped”. I think that taking a list of the Commandments and going over them, one at a time…and being honest and open with your son will help him to learn to examine his conscious in a way that has more meaning than, “Did I push anyone down on the playground”?
    I believe that children are FAR more capable of grasping and dealing with the beautiful Truths, Teachings, and mysteries of our Faith and God…than adults tend to give them credit for…Speaking to our children about “knowing right from wrong” and “choosing to do wrong” also helps them understanding the concept of SIN; rather than just asking, “Did you fight with your sister? Did you share?” and so forth.
    Your son is blessed to have a mother who wishes to impart the fullness of the Faith and Sacraments to him. God bless you both as you prepare!

    • What you suggest with the Ten Commandments is essentially what I’m doing in my new book, which comes out in March. Only taking the Beatitudes, and tying them to the commandments, the works of mercy, etc. To their credit, the teachers are using many Scriptural sources, including the ten commandments, in the way you describe–it’s just that developing that critical thinking about your own behavior is so hard to do. I don’t want him to suffer from a belief that he is *bad,*, but I don’t want him to get complacent, either.

  4. Kathleen,
    The sad truth is that teachers today are often forced to teach to the lowest common denominator. And in a world where many parents don’t go to Mass on Sundays, and many more never discuss their faith with their children, the teachers are starting with kids who know next to nothing about what it is to be a Catholic Christian. Often, those teachers aren’t even Catholic themselves, and/or they’re teaching a classroom of both Catholic and Protestant children, so they’re worried about offending someone by going “too Catholic”.

    As parents, the responsibility rests on our shoulders to provide the foundation of faith for our children, and we can only hope that the school will edify what we teach, rather than diminishing it.

    I don’t know if I’m getting it right with my kids, either, but my personal guidelines are to use every possible teachable moment to focus ourselves on Christ. I talk a lot about God’s love for us, and how we can love God in return. I try to focus on the person that God wants us to become, rather than what WE want to become. I hope that I am instilling a desire to be pleasing to God.

    As a convert, I also emphasize the greatness of Christ’s one, holy, Catholic Church – it’s universality, its steadfastness, it’s foundation in scripture.

    When their eyes start to gloss over, I move on to another topic, and pray that I’ve said enough but not too much.

    • Yes, the “too much” is just as big a danger as the “not enough”! I hope by laying out my own faults I can help the kids recognize their own. Lead by example, you know…

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