Confessions of a Struggling LIFT Parent

Over the past several weeks, 114 parishioners completed our anonymous LIFT Mid-Year Survey. We received a good balance of responses across all four LIFT nights and all grade levels; we heard strong, positive feedback; very frank and consistent negative feedback; and lots of great ideas about things we could do differently. The results of the survey are available on the church website, stmcatholicchurch.org, by clicking the Faith Formation tab at the top of the page.

I take your feedback seriously, not only because it’s my job, but because I’m a LIFT parent, too. I know firsthand what it’s like to remember the night before LIFT that you haven’t even asked your kids about their homework, let alone helped them with it. I know that it’s harder to motivate myself to attend LIFT as my kids get older. I know that some nights, we’re lucky to remember to say Grace as a family before we scarf a late supper and fall into bed.

I know it’s not easy—but I’m convinced we can make it easier. Below are a few examples of things I agree that we should work to change in the coming year:

  • LIFT stands for Learning In Faith Together, but families are separated and learn completely different things.
  • The goal is to help parents to be the primary teachers of their children, but we don’t really help—we give you tons of content and expect you to figure it out.
  • Another goal is to build community, but our only adult interactions are in small-group settings that are easily the most uncomfortable and least liked aspect of the program.
  • For the price of the program, too much of the teaching falls on the parents—especially in terms of sacramental preparation.
  • At a certain point, it no longer makes sense for parents to be required to attend classes year after year with their children—and if it becomes an obstacle to their children attending, nobody benefits.

On the other hand, I also know that staying involved in LIFT has made a difference in my family. I know that when we finally remember our LIFT homework, the kids know what to expect and buckle down to do it—and since they’ve been involved year after year, the lessons aren’t as hard as they used to be. I know that the more Jodi and I model sacramental living, the more the kids pick it up and reflect it back to us. And I know there is no more powerful motivator for an adult to keep growing in their faith that to have their children pulling them along.

Certain aspects of the LIFT program will not change in the coming year. Family catechesis will remain the core model, and the price of the program is what it is in order to balance the budget. Our goal is to build a LIFT program that delivers on its promise of Learning In Faith Together, that provides better value for the cost, and most importantly, that grounds St. Michael families in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.

St. Augustine writes, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Getting LIFT right won’t happen overnight. But when it does, I believe families will come, not because they are required, but because they want to—because their hearts long for God, and they know they can find Him here.

Blogger’s Note: This article appears in the Sunday, Feb. 22, church bulletin .

2 thoughts on “Confessions of a Struggling LIFT Parent

  1. What courage it must have taken to write your perspective! It's amazing how powerful the program has been for our family – keep up the work Jim – you're transforming it and getting Jesus closer to our hearts!

    Like

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