Let us Break Bread together on our knees….

As a kid I used to think this song

meant we were breaking a big loaf of bread by pushing it over our knee while we were sitting.

that idea is very telling of the problem with many religious education experiences

we tell the children things

we sing songs

↑↑↑♪(this is one of my favorite bible song resources)♪↑↑↑

we expect some memorization

whether prayers or bible verses

{“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13}

so often we tell tell tell

but seldom do we explain

we need to explain

we must explain

the why we do what we do

In my classroom anytime we are:

  • singing a new song
  • learning a prayer first time(and beyond)
  • hearing a bible story for the first time(and beyond)
  • learning a sacrament
  • learning a tradition

I frequently stop and ask/explain

  • what a word means
  • how that makes them feel
  • why we do what we do

This should be true whether you are teaching 1st graders (as I do)



or anyone in between

that is not to say we would use the same tone of voice with an adult that we do with a child

but we cannot continue to teach

without explanations

most Christians (except perhaps clergy and the few well educated in their religion) don’t know the why behind their traditions they just do it because it is what they’ve always done.

this is not the way to lead our christian life.

When Jesus taught whether using history or stories he taught with purpose and he explained to his students what he was doing

when he taught how to pray

when he taught about the good Samaritan

when he taught about faith and the mustard seed

When Jesus broke bread

This is my body

This is my blood

broken for you


IN the same matter that we explain why we believe what we believe

we must also be ready so say



even as teachers

teachers who’ve been teaching a long time

(I’ve been doing this over 20 years)

we come across something

whether in reading

or in question from a student or another person

that we don’t know the answer for

I find it best to be forward

tell the person/student that you don’t know the answer

but then

don’t leave it there

do some asking to find out more

whether you need to consult a bible with a concordance

or a pastor/religious education director/etc…

or do a web search

and then, get back to the person

let them know, what you found out.




About ellasurreau

I am a first grade religious education catechist I have been teaching for 20 years I have a BA in Religious Studies I have continued taking classes in religious studies since graduating. I grew up Methodist, and became catholic after marrying.
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