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Our readers asked:

How do I Instill Enthusiasm For Faith in My 10th Grade Students?

Neela Kale Answers:

Faith is not taught, it is caught. So while it is important to present your curriculum clearly and accurately, you must also offer an enthusiastic example of a life lived in faith. Can your students see that your own life is infused with joy and grace? Do they recognize that you are living in the peace and freedom that only God can give? While maintaining appropriate boundaries, are you honest with them about your own times of struggle and the fruits of those struggles? Your witness will be the strongest message they carry away from your classroom. While doctrines and jargon may go in one ear and out the other, the example of a life shaped by the good news remains in the heart. Be a person of faith and trust that God will touch your students’ hearts and inspire them to respond.

The Author : Neela Kale
Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.
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  • Mike

    Faith is doing what Jesus told you to do beliving that what he said was right to do, therefore you do as He said to do so them that do can go to heaven and them that don’t do not go to heaven.

    Like any good parent that spanks his child for doing wrong then sends
    them to there room to think about what it was they did wrong. like any good child that does not want to get into trouble with there parents instead they rather reep the love of the parents.

    Enthusiasm is not even part of it, it is just the right way to live your life. fear is better sought so that the person will know the Love of God out of fear of God by knowing if he or she does not do as God tells them to do then it is hell they will have, and not reeping the love of God in the end.

  • Brenda from Flatbush

    The highest grade I’ve taught as a CCD teacher was 6th grade, but by then they’re already beyond childlike acceptance and enthusiasm, so, For What It’s Worth: Enthusiasm begets enthusiasm, but so do high expectations and rigor. And creative work. And fun. And kindneses. Ultimately, my most powerful tool was storytelling–something we wrongly pigeonhole as for “little kids.” I told stories about my own struggles with faith and living the Christian life, in school, in the big city, in my family; I shared the hard questions (like, how do you reconcile Gospel mandates to help the needy with the endless daily stream of New York panhandlers

    and one’s own limited resources and need for personal safety?) Engaging kids with respect as intellectual partners is powerful in the teens. So is mild provocation, within appropriate boundaries. And for teens, humor is HUGE. I have some performance skills and experience and was always ready for improv. Ultimately, it comes down to how my parents instilled faith in me–by the “catching force” (Newman) of a life well-lived.

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