For most of us born into a Catholic family, it all starts with baptism. While I don’t remember my baptism, I know how important it was and is today.
However, as a child, I had no idea how important it was and even as a young adult, I had no clue.
Being born into a Catholic family doesn’t mean you even know what the word Catholic means. I don’t know if something happened to cause parents (at least mine) during the 1980s and 1990s to forget to teach their children the true meaning of the word “Catholic” but I know I grew up confused.
I will certainly speak more to that confusion in later posts. For now, let’s start with the story of my birth through confirmation in a Catholic family.
The Very Beginning of My Christian Catholic Journey
Like most children, I had no idea what faith was or why I was supposed to believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or the Catholic Church. I attended Catholic school from the day I was old enough until halfway through High School. The same school was in charge of me from Kindergarten to Confirmation.
I don’t remember much before about 4th grade, but I do remember that I wasn’t the easiest student in school. I didn’t get in trouble daily, but I did my fair share of “boy-like things” to get sent to detention or get in trouble in one way or another.
Something else I remember is Religion class always came last. I had one teacher for every subject until 7th grade and Religion class came last nearly all of the time. Sometimes, it even was skipped.
Looking back, I think my parents, like many, were counting on my “Catholic” education to teach me about the church and what I was supposed to believe. It failed and we will cover more of that later on, for sure.
What Did I Know About Confirmation?
Before I was confirmed in 8th grade, I knew very little about what it meant to be a Catholic. My understanding was, you go to church on Sunday, you get the wafer and wine, you say a few prayers before meals, and you try to be a good person.
The bible wasn’t a part of my upbringing, which is so sad to me. I am sure we had a bible in our house and I may have even had my own, but it wasn’t a center-point of my childhood. Such a shame and probably a big part of what led to later in my life.
Confirmation is done in 8th grade, which I personally believe is too early for most Catholics. While I have a better grasp of what this means now, I didn’t have a clue when I was confirmed.
Instead, I was doing it because mom and dad told me to, the school told me to, and just about everybody else in my class was getting confirmed. I had no idea how important confirmation was or is and had no clue where it came from.
I feel like I went through some type of confirmation classes, but I simply don’t remember.
The First 13 Years of My Christian Catholic Journey: No True Foundation
Looking back, I wasn’t given a foundation to build a Catholic education from during the first 13 years of my life. Instead, I was sent into confusion and had received sacraments I didn’t understand.
The first 13 years of a Catholic child’s life should be spent learning the foundations of the faith and putting it first as much as possible. This starts and ends with parents, but I feel like I am not alone when it comes to an entire generation relying on the Catholic schools, which completely failed me.
It shouldn’t be up to the schools to teach us about our Catholic faith. It’s the parents’ responsibility and it has to be more than just going to church and praying before meals. Everything in a child’s life should revolve around Christ and parents should be taking special time to build a strong foundation during these important years of a child’s life.
Instead, I feel like my parents were victims of a changing society where women were working more, schools were relied on too much, and faith took a back seat to so many other distractions.
The Good from The Bad Start to My Christian Catholic Journey
While I feel like the first 13 years of my Catholic Journey were not so great, I can look back now and see why they weren’t. This means I can adjust when I have children of my own to raise in the Catholic faith.
My children will gain from my upbringing as I can see the mistakes and see how to make adjustments and do things differently. Even though it’s many years later, there is good that comes from the poor foundation taught to me by the Catholic schools and by my parents.
I love my parents and I am sure they did the best they could, but I won’t be following their lead on teaching my children about the Catholic faith. I feel like had I asked questions, they would have been more than willing to help me on my journey, but without me coming to them directly, I feel like it was just ignored.
Of course, how can you find time to teach your children when you have to work, run them to a million activities, deal with school functions, have a life outside of your children, and pay attention to a dozen TV shows because that’s what society teaches you to do?
My Parents are Not to Blame
Looking back, the 1980s and 1990s (possibly the 1970s, too) were a time when people were just starting to be indoctrinated with TV on a regular basis. It was the very beginning of the brainwashing we are now seeing the effects of today and my parents, in my opinion, were victims of the society-shifting.
It was the first time in history where women were starting to work far more and men were working a ton of overtime, too. It’s the first time we saw parents truly trusting their children to the schools and the first time we saw kids getting so involved in activities that parents can barely put a meal on the table or find time to sleep.
While it may seem like a blame my parents, I don’t. They had multiple children to attend to, jobs they thought they needed to have to afford a big house and stuff we probably didn’t need. They parented us through a time when I personally believe it was very difficult to be a parent.
Generations of parents today can draw on these experiences and see why it’s not always good to have kids in a ton of activities or to count on schools to teach them everything. Some are even seeing why it’s better to have a smaller, cheaper home and more time to homeschool or at least spend with their children.
Homeschooling is becoming more popular and may be the way my wife and I raise our children one day. However, I can certainly say, we will be reading the Bible with our children, teaching them what it means to be Catholic and by no means will we count on the Catholic schools or anybody else for the religious education of our children.