busy-so few of meBrenda Estill (I think she’s a DRE) had some good insights about parents and faith formation that I’d like to share  (this is from an email group I subscribe to).  She wrote:

“It amazes me everytime I here a parent say that their children won’t be able to attend class or they can’t attend a parent meeting because of another commitment which usually has to do with sports.
Now I love sports and I believe that physical fitness is very important but I also think our culture has taken it a little too far. We now have flag football for 3 year olds, traveling teams for kindergarteners, practices and games on Sundays (even our Catholic Schools are scheduling these) and how many kids not even out of high school have had knee surgeries. I had one mom tell me that her niece who is a junior in HS has already had 3 surgeries on her ACL.And how about the kid that is so stressed out by the abuse he is receiving from his football coach that his parents have spent 100’s of dollars trying to figure out why the lining of his stomach and esophagus are raw.
How much time, energy, resources and mental anguish are we going to continue spending trying to make sure our kids “succeed”.
When will we teach them to be still, quite and to enter into silence so that they may find the true direction for their lives. When will we teach them to follow the path that God has planned for them and not what the culture says is the only way to happiness.
We make so many excuses for why our families are stressed and can’t find time to spend together, maybe none of us want to admit that we to have bought into the lie of our culture– The more busy you are the less time for trouble.
But in the midst of this noise and comotion when do we here the voice of God–not often enough–not when practicing on Sunday leads us to miss mass or when we begin to believe as faith formation leaders that maybe we are pushing too hard–are we really? Our teaching isn’t about making the grade, making money, becoming the star athlete or even Rhoades scholar–it is about our eternal salvation. When we as parents say that our children’s salvation is important to us do we back that up with actions or do we fall into the category of “fitting in” with todays culture.
I will continue to strive for families to come and engage in Christian relationships and dialogue– and I will pray that they will not settle for what the culture has planned for them.”

Amen!  I think we need to continue to be strong in our ministry.  We need to help parents see the overarching value of faith formation as foundational to their children’s lives – more than anything else.  Parish programs have a very important role.  It is important to note that parish religious education programs are collaborating with parents, not taking the place of parents who are primarily called to lay the foundation of faith and morals in the lives of their children.  May the Holy Spirit guide busy families to slow down and grow together and in their relationship with God.