I'm going to paraphrase from a friend's blog - it's a situation that I think most parents are up against repeatedly - How do you explain to the children the counter-cultural ways that they are being raised?
(a young child) asked her parents "why we do things like go to church, CCD, confessions, pray before meals and bed, etc. 'when none of my friends do'. "
Nearly all of her friends do go to church. They're just different churches and parishes. The question wouldn't be so difficult if it were "why do we do these things?". The emphasis of the question is "why do we do these things (when I don't see anyone else doing them)?"
It's hard to answer it in a pastoral, non-judgemental fashion. You have to be careful that your children doesn't walk away thinking less of their friends. At the same time, you don't want to water down the importance of what you've been teaching them. In a way it's a bit like when kids whine "but Kaitie's parents don't make her do ..." or "but Joshua's parents let him do ..." but in a different form based on one's beliefs.
And what about the other side - where the other families go on really 'cool' trips or have lots of 'stuff' that is paid for by having two incomes or by getting into horrendous debt?
Today the mom of the family came back from yet another round of "teaching" CCD to her 4th grade class (the oldest child is in it as well). She came back feeling as though her students are not only disinterested, but also spoiled. Without exception, every one in her small class _except_ her daughter got an iPod Nano for Christmas.
One student wore a hoodie sweatshirt and tried to see if he could surreptitiously listen to it without being noticed. In a CCD class?! One announced that he was going on a cruise in February. Meanwhile _none_ of these kids attends Mass because
their parents can't be bothered or have more important things to do.
One can talk about her (the mom's) efforts as "just planting the seeds", but to her it seems like she's throwing Kentucky Bluegrass on a Walmart parking lot. The parents' examples (with materialism,
divorce, and virtual non-Catholic belief) is a megaphone compared to
the whisper of her instruction. She wonders why the parents
bother putting their kids into CCD. This mom is pretty certain that
next year she won't teach and (further) she'll pull the children out and teach them at home where they'd learn _more_. As it is, she's
supplementing with additional instruction on weekends.
(A note from the dad here)
I thank God that my 4th grade daughter, in tonight's bedtime prayer,
prayed that some of her fellow CCD students might take their CCD more seriously. She seems to understand how un-Catholic her fellow
students are and what they're missing out on. Not bad for a 10 year