Children need faith training beginning at a young age
I am coaching rugby at a high school in Calgary, and for the last two years we have not had a junior program at the school due to the lack of a teacher sponsor.
The problem of not running a junior program is that I don’t have enough boys coming up with the knowledge and experience of playing the game. This year more than half of my starters at the beginning of the season had never played before. Unfortunately that shows on the field even when they are trying their best.
They don’t know all the rules and fine points of the game and to try and teach them this in a matter of weeks is very difficult.
The future is bright, though, because we do have a junior team with a large number of boys who played at high levels prior to entering high school. It is showing on the scoreboard as well. Later this week they will be competing in the city championships.
I’m sure by now you are saying that's very nice, but don’t you normally write about faith? Yes, I do and I wanted to use this as an analogy of raising our children in the faith. You have heard parents say I will wait until they are old enough to choose for themselves. The problem with that is they will not be ready when it is game time. They will not have the understanding of the faith when pressed or challenged. In those critical moments when they need God the most, they won’t feel they know how to reach out to Him. Faith equals resiliency, which is in short supply among our youth today.
It is never too late to work with your child on learning and making the faith their own. I know in Canada millions of kids get sent to hockey and soccer camps to help them have a better shot of making the best team. Make sure you invest in authentic Catholic camps where your children will be challenged to make the faith their own.
My children have all loved Our Lady of Victory Camp on Gull Lake and Youth for Truth. I have heard great things about Arcatheos Boys' Camp and Captivenia Girls' Camp south of Calgary. If you are travelling for vacation explore the church and history of where you are going.
Where do you start? I started by teaching my rugby team a prayer that most did not know, the St Michael prayer, that we said before every game.