By Eileen Morgan
I used to have a bumper sticker that said, “If a mother’s place is in the home why am I always in the car?” The car was one place my children and I were together to have a discussion — after I told them to turn off their electronics! The other usual time was when, somehow, we were all together at the dinner table.
It was not easy. I would ask, “What did you learn today?” and the answer was usually, “Nothing.” “How was class today?” “Boring.” So, when asked by priests, catechists, and religion teachers to discuss faith at home it was a struggle.
It helped to learn there is an art to asking questions.
Not much discussion happens with yes-or-no type questions — even if you ask, “Why do you say that?” Often the answer is… “Because.”
You can ask questions for information. But then go on to ask for insight.
- How many times did Jesus ask Peter if he loved him? Why do you think he did that?
- What gifts did the Magi, or three kings bring baby Jesus? Why would they bring these kinds of gifts? Would they be helpful to the family when they fled to Egypt?
- Name one of the 7 Sacraments. Why do you think we and the Church need it?
Asking questions about how someone might feel in a story or situation, helps to make it relatable.
Try questions like these:
- What was Jesus feeling in today’s Gospel?
- What was the person Jesus helped feeling?
- What were Jesus’ friends feeling
- How did Mary feel standing at the foot of the cross?
- What feelings does the family have when their children receive the Sacrament of ________? (Remember parents: This opens the door for you to share your own feelings.)
Asking about the tone of voice a person might use in a situation can also help us understand the story and characters better.
- When Jesus was lost three days how do you think Mary’s voice sounded when she and Joseph found Jesus in the temple?
- What tone did Jesus, who was 12, use when he answered his parents?
- How did Jesus sound when He told the paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven?” Mark 2;5
Questions can also be thought-provoking.
- What did Jesus do? Are there people who do that today?
- Sometimes Jesus was helped by others to do a miracle. Who helped him feed 5,000 people?
- Who helped bring a _______ to Jesus for help?
- How can we help Jesus do his work today?
- Certain foods feed various parts of our body. What part of us does Holy Communion feed?
- Mass is supposed to be a celebration. What do we celebrate? Did it feel like a celebration today?
Finally, these questions are always applicable to any situation.
Maybe there are few here that you’d like to ask your children on a regular basis. They are:
- What do you thank God for today?
- What would Jesus do in this situation?
- Where in our family do we need the truth and light of Christ right now?
- What or who should we pray for today?
Eileen Morgan has worked in the field of catechetics since 1980 as Director or Coordinator of Faith Formation in diverse types of parishes. As a Master Catechist for the Diocese of San Diego and the Diocese of San Bernardino, she developed youth and adult retreats, catechist education and certification courses, and models for Family Catechesis for Sacrament preparation and primary grade catechesis. She continues to offer workshops today.
Image Credit: Sirtravelalot / Shutter Stock 146595068