We started school here on Monday, which means that I began catechism classes again this week. On Tuesday, I started with my intro to catechism class. I basically try to impress on the students that our study of the catechism is bigger than them. I tell them about my grandfather, who studied the same catechism before he was confirmed in 1922. I show them some of my old catechisms, the oldest of which is copyrighted 1881. I tell them about how seriously he took that catechism instruction when he and his wife were deciding which church to join after they moved to their new farm, away from their home churches. He made his decision based on the church's adherence to the teaching he learned from his catechism instruction. I tell them about how his study of Scripture and his familiarity with the catechism even into his old age made an impression on his grandson who spent quite a bit of time with him. I show them pictures of Grandpa and me when I was a toddler, on my 7th birthday, at my own confirmation, and at my high school graduation. But my
pictures from college and Seminary graduation, my ordination don't include Grandpa since he died before I reached those milestones. But to a large degree, the reason I am where I am now is because a 13 year old was taught Luther's Small Catechism, and because he took that instruction with him into life. I tell the kids that I pray that what we learn in this class will last long after 8th grade, even long after their life is over.
I have nine students in 7th and 8th grade this year. I think it will be a good year, though it's always a challenge to start with a group of new kids. But pretty soon I'll get to know the kids more and that will help. But I've really enjoyed teaching catechism and I'm looking forward to this year.
Tomorrow I will also start teaching hymnology, too. That's something that I'll have to write more about later. It deserves its own post.