These past few months with my Religious Education students has really been great. They've reminded me how much I love interacting with 7th graders, how exhausting teaching can be and how much we discount the pre-teens in our society. They are in the perfect cusp of age where they still see learning as possibly cool, yet they're starting to actually make observations about their world and challenge what they've been taught. It's a pretty amazing age when you get past the smartphone addiction and the tendency to talk back.
Though one of the best things they've taught me so far is about how I'm teaching and creating my faith in my home.
Let me put it gently: Anything counts.
You do not need special decor or a million feast days or piles of crafts. You do not need to do what everyone else is doing or follow their rules.
These kids, your kids, my future seventh graders just desperately need you to do something. They need families with no Advent traditions just to buy a wreath and remember to put candles in it. They need families who remember the wreath and the candles to remember to light them once in a while. They need someone to sit with them at least once a year and make sure they know the Christmas story.
They don't need a lot, they just need something. Something to remind them that our Christmas is different than what they see in the stores or on T.V. Something that will give them even the smallest building block to start from as they get older and start their own families.
Something, anything goes a long way. Just remembering to bring your faith home goes a long way. Just trying goes a long way.
My house doesn't get super decked out for the holidays (about 1.5 rooms get the treatment). We don't have lots of crafts or traditions - we do chocolate coins and simple Advent Calendars. We don't do a lot of feast days or activities - we do books and movies and little lessons along the way. It often seems like we don't do enough, but if my 7th graders have taught me something it's that a little faith in the home goes a long way.