Children's Catechesis: Catechizing Kids from Hard Places

Authored by Alison Blanchet in Issue #7.1 of The Catechetical Review

They are not my “glory stories.” They are the children that I think about at 3:17 a.m. The faces of children that, to the best of my knowledge, I failed to reach. In the middle of the night things I said and did—sometimes with the best of intentions and sometimes from a place of absolute frustration and desperation—replay in my head.  What had I done that seemed to completely close a child off to the message of Christ that I desperately wanted to share with them?

Hope and the Sacrament of Confession mercifully keeps me from dwelling on these moments too frequently, but over the years, I continued to wonder if there was anything I could have done to prevent a child from acting out or shutting down when I was instructing them.

Yes, I’ve learned. There were.

A few years ago, my husband and I became licensed foster parents. Between trainings on discipline and the importance of regular visits to the dentist was a lesson I wish I had learned before I ever began to work with children.

I learned how trauma affects the brain.

While I had read the occasional article and attended a few workshops, my understanding of how a child’s experience of trauma affects their behavior remained rudimentary. However, this training included in-depth explanations of the brain and behavior. As I began to work with specific behaviors of children in our own home, I realized how essential this knowledge was within a catechetical environment as well.

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This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting

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