I recently asked Sojourn Midtown members, Alex and Laura Beth O'Nan to tell me about how they are using the North Star Catechism at home. Here is how they answered my questions.
Why do you think it important to teach basic theology to your kids? There is nothing more that we desire for our children than for them to know God and follow Him in faith. We know from His Word that God has called, instructed, and equipped us as parents to teach our children about the things of God, and we desire to live in obedience to that calling. We believe that basic theological instruction will give our children a strong foundation for their faith, and we are convinced that a correct doctrine and knowledge of God and His ways will be an aid to them throughout life. Knowing God and being known by Him has been the greatest thing in our lives, so naturally we want to do all that we can to teach our children of the joys of knowing God.
How has the catechism been helpful? The catechism has been a wonderful tool for instructing our daughter Miriam in theology. Before using the catechism, my theological instructions were impromptu reactions to situations that would arise, which is good and appropriate, but not consistent or thorough. I love that the catechism is a systematic tool that covers the full spectrum of historic theological categories. It has been very helpful in establishing deep truths and key Scripture verses into Miriam's heart and mind.
What does "catechism time" look like for your family? Well, the first words that popped into my mind were chaotic, imperfect, and beautiful! It is chaotic because we have a 2-year-old boy Felix who is listening in even though he's not quite ready for the memorizing. It is imperfect because I am imperfect. I often lose my patience or get frustrated during our catechism times, and many times I must repent and ask forgiveness. It is beautiful because the end result is hearing our 4-year-old daughter Miriam speak the truths of God.
We have found that right after breakfast is the best time for Miriam to work on the catechism. I usually ask her to stand up next to the breakfast table, and get all her wiggles out. I then help her remember to stand still so her brain can focus on the words. We usually begin by reviewing questions previously learned, then move into learning new material. Miriam has not begun reading yet, so I teach her through a simple routine of listening, saying together, and saying alone. I introduce the question and answer, and we discuss its meaning. I then ask her to listen to me read the question and answer three times. We then say the answer three times together. Then she says the answer three times by herself with prompts if necessary. We have catechism time usually three times a week and follow this routine each time. By the third day, she usually knows the answer independently. I would also like to add that it is completely by the grace of God that we are somewhat consistent with this and that we are seeing Miriam learn and grow in the knowledge of God. Because of the nature of my husband's job, our family lacks any type of regular weekly schedule and most things that we attempt to do consistently end up failing or being forgotten. We are convinced that God has blessed us with the grace to remember to instruct Miriam in this way, and we are so thankful!
Catechism Flash Cards
North Star Catechism flash cards and Scout books are on sale at Sojourn book tables and online. The flash cards contain the content for all 78 catechism questions and answers in a deck of 52 playing card size flash cards. They provide a fun way to practice key truths about God's glory, God's kingdom, God's cross, God's grace, God's church, and God's mission. The tuck case and cards were designed by Sojourn staff member and graphic designer, Chris Bennett. Follow the link below to download the free catechism and order other resources.