All in god's plan by domainlawyer

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									A R C H D I O C E S E O F S T . P AU L A N D M I N N E A P O L I S
O F F I C E FO R M A R R I AG E , FA M I LY, A N D L I F E

ALL IN GOD’S PLAN
Parts I-III
All in God’s Plan has three programs offered at various ages of development for young people and their mothers and fathers. The program is intended to assist families in teaching youth about God’s gift of human sexuality, the sacredness of human life, and the importance of family. It also aims to open discussion between parent and child with regard to God's precious gift of fertility in the context of the Church's teaching on life and love. These programs present a positive vision of life as a gift from God. History: The original model was developed in the Diocese of Memphis at the Natural Family Planning Center. Teresa Jung brought this model to Epiphany in Coon Rapids in the 1990s. Kathy Laird, Archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family, and Youth began overseeing programs to: control content of program assure parishes that speakers are true to Catholic teaching on chastity and sexuality provide program models for parishes to make it their own Since then over twenty-five parishes in the Archdiocese have used this model successfully

Is my son or daughter ready for the “All In God’s Plan” Program?
Ages listed for each of the three “All in God’s Plan” programs are meant only as a guide for parents. Trust your parenting instincts. You are the best judge of when your son or daughter needs this information. The following guidelines from parents who have previously attended the programs may help you to make your decision.

Part I: 10-13 year olds + Parents
Has your daughter or son had a large growth spurt? (Remember that feet grow first). How about their classmates? Are you hearing whispered discussions among their friends? Nervous giggles from the girls? Monosyllabic grunts from the boys? Are they asking you questions about growing up? Are you noticing increasing body hair or odor? Do they have older sisters/brothers who have gone through puberty? If you answered “No” to several of these questions, it is probably safe to wait another year. Children have a natural innocent stage, called latency, and it is important not to give them too much information too soon. Evaluations from mothers who have attended in the past indicate that girls in grades 5-6 benefit most from this program. Many fathers feel that boys in grades 5-7 are ready for this program. Remember, boys often mature up to two years later than girls. Some parents choose to bring their children to the program more than once between grades 5-8. It is a great starting point for parent/child discussions. It also gives parents confidence to assure their daughters and sons that God has a unique plan just for them, and they don’t have to grow up in

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just the same way as everyone else. If you are unsure if your son or daughter is ready for the program, come to one yourself and see what it is all about. The Mother/Daughter Program for girls and their moms, and the Father/Son Program for boys and their dads includes presentations on the God-given qualities of boys and girls, the physical and emotional changes of puberty, a PowerPoint explaining what young people can expect as they enter puberty with a discussion of the sacredness of human life, and a talk on the joys and sorrows of being a mother or father. There is no discussion of the intimate aspects of married love.

Part II: 13-16 year olds + Parents
The second component of “All in God’s Plan” is geared toward late junior high and early high school students, though the message is pertinent to youth throughout high school. Three talks are given to parents with their teens. “The Safe Sex Myth,” given by a physician discusses the consequences of pre-marital sex including: STD’s, pregnancy, and emotional difficulties. Although the mechanics of sexual intercourse are not discussed, the topic assumes that teens have this basic information.

Part III: 17-18 year olds
The third component is entitled “What’s Next?” as this program considers one’s vocation upon completion of high school. This is best suited for seniors in high school.

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ALL IN GOD’S PLAN, Part I
MOTHER/DAUGHTER AND FATHER/SON PROGRAMS
Overview and Summary of Program Content Part I: 10 - 13 year old youth and parents These programs are intended to gently introduce the topic of sexuality and to continue discussion between parent and child with regard to God's precious gift of fertility in the context of the Church's teaching on life and love. Girls attend with their mothers and boys with their fathers (or a supportive adult or role model) in separate but similar formats. Girls between ages 10 and 12 and boys between 11 and 13 seem most ready for the programs, however ages are approximate and it is for the parent to discern when their child is ready. These programs are offered as a service to parents in facilitating their role as the primary educators of their children in this delicate area. Order of Presentations: When I Was Your Age This presentation usually comes from a teen or slightly older young person. The young person talks about how it was when he or she grew up. They also encourage the participants to listen to the subsequent speakers, and they may describe how important his father or her mother was to him/her during that time. This person is often the most popular speaker during the question and answer session. Most of the young people will relate well to this speaker. Being open and respectful with your parents is addressed as well as an encouragement to prayer, offering proper role models such as St. Joseph, The Blessed Mother, or the saints. It's Great to Be a Boy/Girl This talk refers to the wonder and uniqueness of being a boy or girl. Topics include respect, modesty and values of the individuals. The speaker, occasionally with a religious vocation, can encourage vocations as well as inform the participants that you don't stop being a man or a woman if you pledge your life to the work of God. The gift of being male or female is emphasized and the virtues of modesty, purity, prudence, good decision making, etc. are incorporated. This presentation also affirms individuals in their unique gifts and talents, and encourages them to use those gifts to serve God, the Church, and others. All in God's Plan This talk is most often presented by a doctor so that the overall program has more credibility with attendees. Physicians giving this talk not only feel comfortable speaking clearly and simply about the workings of the human body but also respect the natural order and spiritual connection between body and soul, and are knowledgeable and supportive of the Catholic Church teaching in this area. The topic of this session is the emotional and physical changes which are occurring or will soon be occurring in the young people. Physicians outline what the boy/girls can expect as they grow, including specific explanations and helpful health tips. Afternoon Tea or Refreshment Break This is a short, but important part of the program. The refreshment time gives the young people a

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chance to mingle with their peers, enjoy the food, and put their questions in the anonymous question box. It also gives the panel time to review the questions so they feel more prepared in their responses. Background music is a nice touch. Most women’s programs include a tea and trays of food for the girls. The boys' break popularly features burgers or pizza. This break time should add to the celebration of the program while reflecting the atmosphere of the parish. The PowerPoint Presentation: The Gift of Fertility This presentation is an overview in pictures of how the body works as well as encouragement to grow in respect and awe for God's gift of life. The boy's portion may have a brief explanation of the reproductive physiology of a girl so that the young men understand respect for God's gift of life. Several slides of unborn babies are included to build a respect for life from its conception. The girl's program gives a bit more detail about menstruation again with the intent to give a basic understanding and to instill a sense of awe at the marvels of God's creation of man and woman and the gift of life. Changes to expect throughout puberty are included but no information regarding intercourse is provided. The girls do not receive information about boys because the girls attending are younger. An NFP instructor ensures that there is no reference given to contraception and gives proper explanation of the beauty of our natural fertility for future NFP use. Being a Mother/Being a Father This talk reflects on how special it is to be a mother/father. This presentation can be happy and lighthearted, or it can have a more serious tone, but it is honest and from the heart. The speaker, a parent with children of this age group or older, gives encouragement to parents. The audience should feel comfortable in knowing that one is never perfect, but through God's infinite grace, we continue to persevere knowing that others have similar struggles. This presentation should include a statement acknowledging adoptive families. The speaker also encourages the parents so they will feel empowered to share with their children all these truths about life. Parents need to know that they have the right, the duty, and the privilege to be their child's first teachers in this intimate area.

Panel Discussion
The emcee chooses questions from the question box, distributing them to the appropriate panel members to answer. Care is taken to ensure that the questions are age appropriate and answers are in line with Church teaching.

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ALL IN GOD’S PLAN, Part II
DAUGHTERS AND SONS FOR LIFE
Overview and Summary of Program Content Part II: 13 - 16 year old youth and parents The teenage program “Daughters and Sons for Life” is the second of the three programs. It is offered to teenage youth and their fathers and mothers. The program is intended to present to teens a Christian understanding of human sexuality by taking a hard look at what underlies the modern cultural approach and demonstrating the goodness of God’s ways in the Scriptures and teachings of the Church. Teens will be given practical help in choosing and living the virtue of chastity. In separate sessions the parents will be given encouragement and practical counsel through presentation and discussion for assisting their children in this area.

Guidelines and Principles Adopted in the Development of the Program:
Parents have the primary responsibility for the education and formation of the children. Parents need encouragement, support, and practical guidance in dealing with teenage children, particularly in this area. Parents tend to take two problematic approaches to this area: -Abdicate all parental authority and responsibility because the children don’t listen anyway and it’s better to “be their friend” than to act in a way that causes tension or conflict in the relationship. -Be fearful and hence, act overprotective in a way this is suffocating and too controlling. Teens will respond better if they are treated in an adult way. One must not be naïve to the reality of some sexual awareness and experience in the teens in the way one presents. Neither, must one judge that most or all of the teens to be sexually active. Some will not be sexually active. Peer approval is extremely critical at this age. Some peer presence on the presenting team is essential. Separation of parents and teens for a part of the program is key to effective presentations to both groups. Even though teens may give the appearance of rejecting parental guidance and authority, for most teens of committed and loving parents, what the parents think really matters. Teens need parental guidelines in difficult situations. Parents need to be encouraged in a “long haul” kind of perspective with their children. Teens deep down desire relationship with their parents.

Order of Presentations: Split Session #1 Teens - “The Big Lie” Happiness and fulfillment are not found in what the world tells us – beauty, pleasure, power World filled with unhappy people-addiction, suicide, anxiety, depression World’s approach to sexuality results in unhappy relationships, high divorce rate, etc. Looking for love in all the wrong places Truth found in getting to know Christ

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Parents - “What Our Teens are Up Against” What kind of pressure do our teens receive from peers? What’s in teen magazines, movies, TV, internet Exploitation for profit A worldview that emphasizes pleasure, comfort, materialism, lust Changes within them. Changes within parents. Stats for teens – sexually active Joint Session # 1 “The Safe Sex Myth” Nature abhors promiscuity – safe sex, contraceptives, STD’s Straightforward, objective presentation The safe sex myth – both physically and emotionally /relationally “The Goodness of God’s Ways” “I have come that you might have life, and have it too the full” (John 10:10) What did God have in mind when he created us as sexual beings? Dispel the notion of a God is repressive – lawgiver, against pleasure – against sex. Seeing God as a God of love who created us a certain way and desires our happiness. God’s ways do not diminish sex but elevate it out of something purely in our animal nature to something that is human. We’re created for relationship/communion – only satisfied in God and with God at the center of all relationships. What does God instruct us in this area and why? What is right and wrong and why? Split Session #2 Teens - “Choosing Life” Making good choices – friends, entertainment, family Helping teens understand the purpose of dating. Some approaches to relating as men and women. Concrete practical advice. Parents – “How Can We Help Our Kids” Relating to your teenage son/daughter Parents tend to take two problematic approaches to this area: 1) Abdicate all parental authority and responsibility because the children don’t listen anyway and it’s better to “be their friend” than to act in a way that causes tension or conflict in the relationship. 2) Be fearful and hence overprotective in a way this is suffocating and too controlling. Even though teens may give the appearance of rejecting parental guidance and authority, for most teens of committed and loving parents, what the parents think really matters. Teens need parental guidelines in difficult situations. Parents need to be encouraged in a “long haul” kind of perspective with their children.

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Teens deep down desire relationship with their parents Practicing tough love You can’t give what you don’t practice or believe yourself Instill hope and confidence Address the parents concern of being a hypocrite because of past failure and sin in this area. Where can I get help? Books, Resources. Some Discussion and Question/Answer Joint Session # 2 “The Gift of the Christian Family” Growing together as parents and teens All Things are Possible with God – Receiving God’s grace and mercy

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ALL IN GOD’S PLAN, Part III
WHAT’S NEXT? PROGRAM
Overview and Summary of Program Content Part III: 17-18 year old youth The teenage program “What’s Next?” is the last of the three programs. It is offered to teenage juniors and seniors (in high school). The program is intended to help teens discover God’s plan for them, specifically after they complete high school. In other words, Part III addresses one’s calling to a vocation of marriage, religious orders or single life. “What’s Next?” also notes the challenges to stay chaste in college. Teens will be given practical help in choosing and living the virtue of chastity, especially in dating and discerning their call. Part III is designed as a retreat, beginning on Friday evening and concluding Saturday evening. The retreat includes Mass, Reconciliation, Prayer and Adoration. Although parents do not attend the retreat, they are invited to attend a separate parent session. This session discusses navigation tools to help their children. There is also an overview of what will be covered in the teen retreat.

Guidelines and Principles Adopted in the Development of the Program:
Parents have the primary responsibility for the education and formation of the children. Parents need encouragement, support, and practical guidance in dealing with teenage children, particularly in this area. One must not be naïve to the reality of some sexual awareness and experience in the teens in the way one presents. Neither, must one judge that most or all of the teens to be sexually active. Some will not be sexually active. Peer approval is extremely critical at this age. Some peer presence on the presenting team is essential.

Order of Presentations:

FRIDAY NIGHT
Post High School: Discipleship Usually presented by a priest, this talk reminds students that God has a good plan for their life and that the greatest thing in life is living for God and following Jesus as a disciple. The Church gives us the Scripture, the Sacraments, the teachings of the Church – but we have to respond as disciples and doing so will make all the difference. Small Groups Small groups are gender specific and are co-lead by two young adult leaders. The group discusses the previous talk. Eucharistic Adoration and Reconciliation The evening concludes with prayer and the opportunity to go to Reconciliation.

SATURDAY
Brace Yourself for Impact: Life in College

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Usually presented by two current college students who have experienced the “College Scene” and have had different experiences of how they were impacted by that. Usually, one of these presenters is a “Good Kid” who has never got into typical relational or moral trouble that is stereotypical of college students – but nonetheless had their own challenges in making the faith their own upon leaving home. As well, there is usually a presenter who had more difficulties wrestling with what they experienced at college, and perhaps did not come through it with flying colors but is now pursuing a life of holiness due to God’s work in their life and the support of family and friends. These presentations serve to open up a conversation about what the participants are thinking about and what some of their hopes and fears are as they prepare for college. Small Group (see above description) God is Calling: Vocation Usually presented by a Priest, though sometime other Religious or consecrated individuals give this presentation. In this presentation a strong invitation is given to consider the religious life or the priesthood. The presenter is encouraged to present their life in all of it’s reality but to underline how precious a gift a call to celibacy and consecrated life can be. There often is a question and answer period connected to this where all the Religious who are in attendance can be asked about their life and story. Doing It God’s Ways: Dating and Marriage Usually presented by a young married couple. This talk is a presentation on the value of not rushing into a dating relationship as a young person, the importance of having Christian service be integral for a healthy holy relationship, and how to go about it well when and if God calls one to pursue a marriage vocation. Temples of the Holy Spirit: Sexuality and Our Bodies This talk is most often presented by a doctor so that the overall program has more credibility with attendees. Physicians giving this talk not only feel comfortable speaking clearly and simply about the workings of the human body but also respect the natural order and spiritual connection between body and soul, and are knowledgeable and supportive of the Catholic Church teaching in this area. Physicians outline that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. As such, they outline ways to take care of the body by adhering to the truth about their human sexuality. Discussion will include STD’s, the importance of abstinence, and the bodies’ natural fertility. This time concludes with questions and answers. What’s Next? Season of Growth, Decisions and Mission As the last talk of the day, this talk is often given by the MC or some other leader of the retreat with whom the participants will identify well. The presenter brings it back to the beginning where all decisions must be made – as disciples and that the gift of youth is the most valuable possession that these young people have (as John Paul II has said often). We are all encouraged at the beginning of their young adult life to consider carefully the call of Christ in their life to go and sell all for the sake of the Gospel. In the next season of their life as they grow, make decisions and decide what to do with their life they are lead to rely on Christ in all things.

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For additional information on the All In God’s Plan program, including a schedule of upcoming programs, please visit our website at www.archspm.org/family or call us at 651-291-4489.

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