Yesterday on my way to work, I was listening to an author being interviewed on NPR. The interviewer asked her what book had been most significant in effecting her own writing, and her interest in literature. She said that as a child, her father had kept the book "Arabian Nights" under lock and key, and told her that it was too erotic for a child to read. Of course, she figured out how to unlock that cabinet and would read the book in a closet with a flashlight whenever her father was busy.
I thought to myself, "Brilliant!" If this is a good technique on how to interest kids in things, (a little reverse psychology, if you will), then how could we use it to help kids in their faith? Should we lock the Bible away (in plain sight)? Should we forbid them to go to Mass? It's an interesting thought.
I met with a group of parents the other night who expressed to me real worry and concern that their kids' faith is suffering- that they are feeling unable to communicate their own beliefs to their kids, and are worried that the kids feel some level of faith, in something, but not much connection to the church. It's everyone's fear right now, the questions "Will our children have faith? Will our faith have children?"
I'm thinking of offering a book club for parents, using a book my sister gave me about adolescent faith development called Lost and Found Faith. I want to reassure parents that what they are doing is not wasted time or effort. Knowing that "developmental faith stages" has really helped me relax about what degree of urgency there really is in adolescence, as far as teaching dogma, and I bet parents would be heartened to hear the bigger picture too.