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Catholic Activity: Elementary Parent Pedagogy: Teaching by Example

This pedagogy instruction deals with how to children: by example. This powerful tool in our hands is the force of example. Children learn by imitation.

DIRECTIONS

This month we shall think about an easy way of teaching children the Catholic spirit; indeed it is an easy way of teaching anything at all. Even without thinking about the matter, we all instinctively follow this easy way in many cases. This powerful tool in our hands is the force of example. Children learn by imitation.

Physical Law

Most parents today know a great deal about the training of the body. We take great care to train the baby from earliest infancy in the habit of eating wholesome food. We give him correct habits of sleep and cleanliness. We take great pride in his increasing height and weight. This is good. We must, however, remember the child's soul as well as his body.

Spiritual Law

The easiest way to train his soul is by having him imitate the good things his parents do. If Father and Mother pray devoutly, speaking and looking as if they were really in communion with God, the child will imitate them. If Father and Mother go to Confession and Holy Communion weekly, the child will go as a matter of course. If parents read their prayer books and follow the Mass carefully, the children will love to do the same. If Father and Mother are polite and dignified, the children will be gentle and courteous. We might name each Christian virtue and affirm that the child tends to copy it as illustrated in the conduct of his parents.

Parents as Models

Our responsibility, then, is very great. There can be nothing haphazard in our dealings with our children or in our actions before them. We must remember that we, ourselves, are their models, and that they will copy us. We can never afford to slip before our children's eyes; constant vigilance is the price of success. And we must try to exclude from the house those people whom we do not want the children to imitate.

Activity Source: Religion in the Home: Monthly Aids for the Parents of Elementary School Children by Katherine Delmonica Byles, Paulist Press, 1938

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