Catechisms are teaching aides that work in the form of a series of questions and answers. The catechism utilized by my tradition for kids is the Westminster Shorter Catechism, a shockingly long and in-depth educational resource by today’s standards. Many would say that this type of teaching is useless since the kids are just learning to parrot a series of propositions. But is this always futile?
When my wife and I attended the 2008 Marine Corps Ball, the guest of honor was a retired Major General. During his address he said, "I know all of you remember S.M.E.A.C., right?" Somewhere in the back of my head I said, "Yes Sir!"
I can still hear us yelling ourselves hoarse at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, 25 years ago:
"Sir, SMEAC, aye, aye, Sir!
Administration and Logistics!
Command and Signal, Sir!"
Every former Marine in that room who was in 10 years ago, 25 years ago or even 50 years ago remembers SMEAC; which brings me to my point. Some things you just learn, though you may not understand them at the time, in a repetitious manner. And then, it's stuck in your head forever waiting for the right moment, the right emergency, to come out.
Catechisms function in a similar way for our kids. Whether Westminster Shorter Catechism or Heidelberg Catechism or the Bible’s Catechism: The Proverbs, when we teach them to our kids they get stuck way back in their heads waiting for the right moment, the right emergency to come out. These godly principles will lie dormant for years until one day, during a crisis of faith in high school or the day they start to catechize their own kids it will all make sense.
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