I hope I won't get slapped with copyright infringement charges or something, because I neglected to ask my son for his permission to reprint his work! I may have to delete this post, and yesterday's, too, at some time in the future. So in the meantime, enjoy!
For the past five years, I have been homeschooled by my two loving and caring parents. My mother taught me most of the subjects: English, science, history, spelling, and many others. My father also taught me, but he was gone a lot of the time, flying airplanes across the Atlantic. So because of these long and frequent trips, he wasn't in charge of many subjects; just two: math...and religion. He was my math teacher. And my theology professor.
Most of our religion classes went the same way: we would look at our edition of the Baltimore Catechism and not only glance at the questions, but memorize them word for word, until they were imprinted on my mind like a brand on the hindquarters of a cow, and then we would read from our Church History book and learn about the early Church and how it continued to thrive. However, every now and then, we would break this sometimes monotonous routine and have discussions, long discussions.
There were some days when I hadn't necessarily lost faith in God, but just had questions, questions that needed answering, whether they were things that I didn't have enough knowledge about, or things that greatly troubled my mind and soul. No matter what they were, my father always had an answer for them, solving each query reasonably and in a way that I could understand, while still staying true to the doctrines of the Church. His words were like a mother's face calming down her child with a single smile. I always enjoyed these discussions, possibly because after each one when I looked at the time, twenty minutes had suddenly disappeared from the clock and it was lunchtime. But I believe there's another reason.
One day, we were having another one of our discussions when at one point, I forget how we came to it, we began to talk about peer pressure. He said to me, "Patrick, next year you are moving up to high school, and while it will be an exciting time for you," pausing here, followed by a series of uhs and ums, "there are going to be times when you'll be tempted to do things that just aren't who you are. There'll be times when your friends will be doing things that your conscience will tell you not to do. And when these temptations are at their strongest, and your friends are all making fun of you for not joining them, just remember: we are not living for this world, but for the next." Ever since that day, those words have stayed with me. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but those words are worth a thousand eternities.
Wow, huh? Okay, here's my chance to give homeschooling a little plug (and also to give a little shout-out to the Seton Home Study School curriculum, which we used for five years and loved); because moments like the one in the last paragraph of my sons's story are the kind of priceless one-on-one teaching moments that you'd be hard pressed to find in any other school environment.