ROOTED in Love: Theology of the Body Summer Experience
September 03, 2019
A few years ago, a group of moms sat in a circle discussing the concerns of our time; in particular, the confusion in our culture around identity and gender. We had a desire to share with our children the truth about God’s plan for them. We wanted them to have a solid foundation to stand on when faced with the messages that are so loud in our world today. We wanted them to grow to be compassionate, caring, and loving while also holding on to the truth.
I did not really know a lot about Theology of the Body at the time. I had a vague sense that it contained the solution to the problems we were discussing. I began to research possible ways to teach it to young children. After continued discussion and prayer, a friend brought the Ruah Woods Press ROOTED Curriculum to me. It didn’t take long to realize that it was exactly what we were looking for!
We knew that before we could adequately teach our children we needed to go deeper for ourselves. Our Mom’s Book Club read “Theology of the Body for Beginners” by Christopher West. We all felt deeply moved by the book and there was a sense that we all knew this was NOT just about our children. It was for us too.
How We Began
Initially there were three couples that met to pray and develop a vision for how our community could use the ROOTED Curriculum. We agreed that our mission is to raise children who KNOW that:
- God is completely in love with them personally
- God’s intense love for us is written on our bodies as we are made in the image and likeness of God
- The goal and purpose of life is to receive and give God’s love to others with our entire being
- Flowing from all of the above, they will have a deep desire to live out the love of God all their lives
We felt it was important to have both a community component and a way for families to continue the conversation at home. We believed that parents must be the primary teachers of these most important truths, but also felt that being part of a larger community would help parents and children to feel supported and encouraged along the way.
We decided to begin a pilot program for the summer beginning with grades K-5. It would consist of 5 sessions. We would meet as a whole group for an introduction (15 minutes), divide into our classes by grade for one hour, and then meet again to conclude with prayer (15 minutes).
We began to share about the curriculum with our friends and got a tremendous response. We asked families to pray about their ability and willingness to purchase the curriculum. It did not take long before we had a family willing to purchase the curriculum for each grade! It was so obvious that the Holy Spirit was leading this endeavor. The need was so clear and the desire to take action was very strong. Yet in all of it, there was such peace about what we were doing. Even though none of us had done this before, we moved forward with confidence that this was God’s will.
I started a Facebook Group page for all families interested in the program. This was a great way to stay connected about events, as well as share resources for Theology of the Body. We then had an initial meeting for parents who were interested. In that meeting we (1) shared some of the ROOTED Introductory Webinar, (2) discussed why this is so important to teach our children at this moment in history, (3) outlined our vision for the program, (4) informed them of ways they could help. For those who could not attend the face-to-face meeting, I led a Facebook Live video in which I was able to outline the program and answer questions.
We were able to recruit two parent teachers for each grade. We had teacher planning meetings to prepare for our classes. Every teacher was full of excitement, pouring hearts into the lesson planning as we all worked together and learned from one another. Twenty Five families were involved in the program for a total of 40 kids. We had a wonderful mix of public school, Catholic school, and Homeschool families. The sense of unity among us was so powerful and encouraging.
Please follow the link to view the impressive and creative Teaching Plan of Catholic Moms of Mercy, Diocese of Springfield, MO.
Hopes for the Future
We had a wonderful experience doing something brand new! We stepped out in faith, trusting that God would lead us and give us all the grace we needed. It went very well although we know there are ways we could make it even better as we continue on! We hope to expand through the 8th grade next summer. This school year we hope to offer adult formation classes on Theology of the Body. We strongly believe that if we, as parents, can embrace and live out the truths of The Theology of the Body, we will be able to transmit them to our children in our everyday lives and conversations.
We are living in difficult times in our culture. We see all around us the pain people are experiencing because they do not know who they are. They desire to live life to the full and meet their potential, but their vision has been twisted. We hope to present the truth to all who will hear, so that they can know that they are made for so much more! The good news we have is that Jesus came to redeem and restore us! Please keep us in prayer, as we continue on this journey and we will do the same for all of you.
I will close with this beautiful statement from one of the teachers involved:
“I will continue to help spread the message of Theology of the Body as I see how God gave this teaching to Saint John Paul II at a time such as this, so that the culture can be healed. I recognize that these teachings will best be understood by intentionally teaching the aspects of this gospel message, that lead to the greater understanding of how God loves us, each and every one uniquely. There needs to be formation, so that this teaching is seen as loving and not rules based. People will learn to be alive with their faith and see God’s goodness everywhere other than as stoics and legalistically rules based. It’s the movement that will turn our culture around and the kids are beginning to grasp it! Praise be to God!”
If you would like to start something similar in your community and would like some support, feel free to contact our group by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Catholic Moms of Mercy in Diocese of Springfield, MO