Emily M. DeArdo

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Catholic 101: Who Built the Ark? (And other Old Testament Figures)

Catholic 101Emily DeArdoComment

(And in case you didn't know that song as a kid, the answer is, "Noah! Noah!") 

After we cover Adam and Eve, we move on to three major Old Testament Figures: Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Noah is essentially the store of the ark and the 40 days he and his family were on it with all the animals. 40 of anything is a theme that comes up a lot, so we try to emphasize it when we can. 

Abraham is next, and we talk about how he was asked to sacrifice Issac, demonstrating how much Abraham trusted in God. We do mention to the kids, though, that God is unlikely to ask them to sacrifice their family members on a mountain top, so they don't freak out. 

Finally, we talk about Moses. I love telling the story of Moses to the kids. They may have seen Prince of Egypt, but usually there are a few who haven't, so I get to tell them all about Pharaoh wanting to kill the hebrew baby boys, and how Moses' mom set him off in a basket, to be found by....Pharaoh's daughter. (The kids always gasp when we get there.) We move on quickly through his desert years and marriage, to the burning bush, the plagues, and then when they get to leave Egypt. Of course, I tell all of this with flair. 

Michelangelo, "Moses", marble 

Michelangelo, "Moses", marble 

Finally we get to the Red Sea parting, the destruction of Pharaoh's army, and the 10 commandments on Mount Sinai. The book really just talks about the 10 commandments, but I think the kids need to know the whole story, because it's awesome and it's important! So we cover the 10 commandments, and let me tell you, it's really fun to explain adultery to six and seven year olds....they just look at you like you're crazy. We also emphasize the idea that "honor your father and mother" doesn't just apply to them; I have to do it too, and so does Miss Mary Beth, and the priests, etc. 

At this point in the year, the kids know what sin is, and they know that sin causes your soul to have a little less grace than it did before. We don't cover venial vs. mortal sins in first grade. We also tell them that a sin is something they know is wrong--and believe me, first graders can sin. We see it all the time when they keep doing something we've told them not to do, and I"m sure all you parents of little guys know this. The Church puts the age of reason at 7, so most of them aren't quite there yet, legally (in a Church law sense), but we do stress to them what God expects of kids. They may not be able to covet their neighbor's wife, but they can still sin. 

That doesn't mean that we're teaching them that they are bad, bad people. We're not. But we do tell them about sin and make sure they understand that sin is serious. At our parish, they receive the Sacrament of Confession before they receive First Communion. (We talked about Confession last week in class, actually.)

After we cover these three, we're up to John the Baptist, the last Prophet before Jesus came. (Our book has Noah, Abraham, and Moses lumped together as prophets.) By this point, we're really close to Christmas, and we're going to talk about Advent and all the stuff we talked about here back in December.