Every now and then I go in to a phase where I am hungry for information, I need to know. It can be anything, my faith, a hobby or just a passing idea or thought. But the need to fill in the blanks to learn more about it takes me over. It’s an obsession that I have, I love to learn, but not “school” learning, more on my own or just lectures and talks and such. There is something different about learning when it’s something I want to do, rather than have to do.
I think it’s the same way for most of our youth involved in religious education; it’s a “Have To” and not a “Want to”. It makes a big difference, to me at least.
As you may know, I am part owner in a company, STATIC Solutions, LLC (www.staticplace.com) that produces religious education and youth group materials. Our offerings are different that what is currently out there, sure the books may look the same, but it’s the idea behind them the way it is to be presented that is so exciting and new. We try to create an environment that the youth “Want to” learn, not one that is a “Have to” learn.
It’s hard to take that in to a class room, if your educators are in the mind set of “Have To” and not “Want to”. It may sound very basic, but we have a generation of “Have to” learn Catholics, and not a generation of “Want to” learn. So our teaching pool is very limited, and when we do get the few Catholics that do volunteer, we have to retrain them in to a “Want to” teaching mode.
Very complex and difficult, but well worth the effort.
Why do I bring this up, what is the point of all this? Well, because I think its epidemic in the Catholic faith, we are producing Catholics that have no drive to grow in the faith, we see it now. Look at the drop in religious orders and the priesthood. See how the local parishes are shrinking. Catholics only do what they “Have To” do, and nothing more. They have no desire to “Want To” do more, to grow and become fuller Catholics. It’s a sad thing.
But all is not lost….
We, as Catholics have a job to do, we are all called to proclaim the Good News, to the ends of the earth. We all have a role to play in that, regardless of our age. Jesus did not say only people over the age of 18 and under the age of 35, nor did he say only the religious or priest, He said EVERYONE!
So where is the best place to start? How about yourself, you first must get the “Want To” attitude, then, and only then, can you pass it on to others.
So start today, pick up a book on the Catholic faith, ask your parish priest or religious education director or check out the web. Just be careful, and make sure the book or website it true to the faith. Read, attend lectures and workshops go to a bible study or take a few classes…
Faith takes work, and no one wants to work on something that “Have To” do, God did not establish a religion to force us in to faith, God created it so we would “Want To” grow in our faith. Love is a “Want To” not a “Have To”.