On January 1st, 2020, my husband, my two boys, and I found ourselves in a long line of traffic trying to leave the multiple encroaching firefronts on the NSW South Coast. For hours and hours we crawled through bumper-to-bumper traffic, all the while trying to keep peace between two active boys, aged 8 and 4, who were stuck in far-too-close proximity to each other.
As the hours ticked by, our patience as a family was definitely running thin!
Thankfully, we’d prepared for the trip with a few new Colin Buchanan CDs, and one in particular became a family favourite by the time we finally arrived home at midday on January 2nd – Colin Buchanan’s latest: Catechismo Kids.
In Catechismo Kids, Colin and his puppet-pal Nudge sing songs, play games and guide their listeners through a simple Catechism.
I’m expecting the word Catechism might prompt different reactions depending on your experience. For some, it brings back old memories of stuffy, dry, rote-learning at Sunday School in the 1950s and 1960s. For others, you may be amazed that when I ask you “What is the chief end of man?” you can, by sheer reflex reply “To glorify God and enjoy him forever”. For others (like me until recently) the word Catechism draws a complete blank, like a “404 page not found” internet error in your memory.
In his song “Do the Catechismo”, Colin outlines what a catechism is in three simple steps:
- You a-a-a-ask the questions
- Then you g-g-g-give the answers
- Frrrrrrrrrrrrrrom the Bible
(That’s how you dodil-oodil-oodil-oodil-oo the Catechismo – Colin concludes!)
Using Colin’s simple outline, my family and I have started doing a simple Catechism at dinner times. We took the list of questions in the “Children’s Catechism” from “Teaching Truth, Training Hearts” by Dr. Tom J. Nettles (the list can also be found here). The questions and answers are very similar to the ones Colin and Nudge use, too!
New City Catechism is another great resource you could use as well.
This is how it would work on a typical night in our house. (Note, we don’t do this every night – there are more than a few nights a week where dinner in front of the TV is all I can manage!).
Over dinner, I show my boys the question we’re going to be thinking about, for example, “Why did God make you and all things?”. I print out the question in large font so that they can look at it while they’re eating.
Last night, my eldest’s first response was, “God made us because he was lonely.” I was able to say that I used to think that, too, but it’s not actually what the Bible says.
This led us to talk about how God shows us about him through what he has done. We know he’s powerful because he spoke and the world was created. We know he is loving because God saw it was not good for Adam to be alone and created Eve as a suitable complement for him. We know God is forgiving because after Adam and Eve sinned, he promised that one day an offspring of the woman would destroy the serpent and we know that offspring is Jesus.
After we talk about the question, we look at the answer, which in this case is “God made us for his own glory”. For an answer like this, I had to explain what the word glory means, but for others, the answer is pretty straightforward. We write the answer in texta on the page under the question.
We then look at one of the accompanying Bible verses, like Revelation 4:11, in the CEV translation. We then write the verse out under the answer.
At the end, we recap all of the questions we’ve done so far. It’s my hope that over time these questions, answers and Bible verses will be so implanted in my boys that they will know with certainly the things they believe, and can confidently defend their faith in the face of any challenge.
Catechisms might seem out of fashion, but Colin Buchanan has encouraged our family to see how helpful they can be in planting seeds of faith, trust and love for God’s Word and his promises in the hearts of our sons.