“Jen a religion teacher?” My friends can’t believe it. For people that know me, this is so unlike myself.
THE OLD JEN
I was a product of the Catholic school system from kindergarten through end of high school. Because of my background, my faith was ingrained in me through tradition. As I got older I grew further away from my faith although I still went to mass every Sunday. I barely went to confession. There was a point when my mom asked me to go to confession as a present to her.
During my “me” phase I was going down this “me” path and eventually realized that I was “lost” and “unbalanced”. My spiritual self was almost nonexistent. I hit a low point in my life and I knew I had to change.
AN OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE
My daughter was a first grader and the church needed religion teachers. I decided to volunteer as one of the religion teachers in her class. As a teacher it’s kind of a love hate relationship. I didn’t like having to prepare the lesson to teach each week, but I loved teaching the first graders. The funny thing about teaching is that I learned more about religion and my faith by having to teach. It really opened up my eyes to the Catholic faith. I learned so much more as a teacher than my 13 years of Catholic education.
THE NEW JEN
I’ve been teaching religion for three years now, and I find that being stronger in my faith has led me to inner peace. I even go to confession every week or two weeks. Every time I’m troubled or stressed out I say a prayer and I feel better after offering my problems to God so I don’t have to worry about it. I find that worrying is a useless emotion since you can’t do much about the situation. So I try to focus on things that I can change and make a difference in my life. I can only control my actions so I do as much as I can. If I’m unhappy with my husband or kids, I pray for more patience and that they change their ways. I also let them know about it and I hope for the best since that’s all I can do. It’s up to my husband and kids to realize what they need to change in themselves.
When I feel like I’m on a hard path (like where I’m at right now) I know that God has a plan for me so it helps me to be more positive about my situation. Having faith in God has given me a more positive outlook in life. It’s sometimes tough to be positive when bad things happen, but I realize that it might be a lesson that I need to learn so I just go through it and do my best. 🙂
WHY I TEACH RELIGION
I continue to teach religion because it fills up my spiritual needs, reminds me of my faith, and helps keep me balanced. I fear that if I don’t teach, I may get “lost” again and slowly revert back to the old Jen. Actually I don’t think I’d go back to the old Jen, but I’d be somewhere in the middle of the old Jen and the new Jen. Personally, I’ve gotten to like the new Jen and don’t want to change for the worse.
Being a teacher helps me practice my faith and if I wasn’t practicing my faith, I can see myself focusing more on work. I definitely don’t want to focus on being a workaholic and unbalanced and that’s why I teach religion.
If you aren’t in touch with the spiritual side of yourself, try it. It’ll help you feel more balanced. What do you do to help stay in touch with your faith or spiritual side?