Friday, August 22, 2014

The Trickle Up Effect

Atrium Mommies + Their Children + A New Friend
It seems like, based on the "hits" for each of my blog posts, the posts that describe our co-op have been some of the most interesting to our readers.  So I wanted to just say one thing about having a co-op Atrium:  the mommies are learning just as much--if not more--than the children!

Since the moms are here when lessons are presented, they absorb the same catechesis as the children.  For some of us, who were raised on the "Glitter Jesus" curriculum of the seventies, these simple, profound lessons are timely.  We are SO ready to listen to God's Word!  We are hungry for the essential lessons of our faith.  We are grateful to meet other mommies seeking the same.

I noticed early on in my training as a catechist that the same transformation I was hoping to see in my young students was taking place in myself and in my fellow classmates.  I saw the same joy and wonder on our wrinkled faces that the children have on their fresh, innocent faces!  I saw it when we realized the Good Shepherd calls us EACH by NAME, when lighting those small candles from the Pascal Candle and proclaiming, "Emily, receive the light of Christ," and, "Joseph, receive the light of Christ," and so on, and then I noticed that the light is spreading, just like the light of faith is spreading, and when I pondered the Annunciation, when Mary's troubled heart quickly became an open, trusting, receptive heart (which makes all the difference).

There are many goosebump moments in the Atrium, despite some occasional crying or spilling, despite the general hubbub, passing grumpiness and the messy humanity of it all.... I recommend THIS kind of co-op because it will benefit you, your children, your families and your faith.  The lessons will trickle up!  And that will make all the difference.


  1. It looks wonderful! I wish I lived in your neck of the woods! Where I live there aren't a lot of families with small children let along a whole bunch ready and willing to start their own Montessori/Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Co-op! But maybe all it takes is one or two families? Any advice?

  2. In some ways you could say this started 4 years ago as a simple playgroup--just me inviting my neighbor over. And it grew. But in other ways it is more complicated than that. I think the first step is inviting that first mommy and putting the word out there. I am a real stickler about germs, so many people whose children are in other programs just never were able to come very much--they were constantly sick. But in this tough economy, many parents are choosing to keep their little ones home and that's great for building communities like this one. The advantage of things growing slowly over time is that you can establish a tone and a culture for the group that grows pretty naturally. We've also had 3 parenting discussion nights where we address discipline issues and life as a family, so we've had time to "get on the same page" as far as how we handle corrections, etc. You may as well try starting something (if you feel so called). Nothing is impossible with God! :)

  3. Thanks! I think there is hope yet, as you said, nothing is impossible with God! I've been wanting to start a prayer group for young mom's for a long time. Perhaps that's the Holy Spirit saying to start there. I'm also going to talk to the few moms I do know about Montessori and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and see what they think. I know part of the reason it would be hard is because I'm not trained in either one of those, so it would require a bit of work on my part... I guess my lazy side is jealous of those moms in your group who just show up! It's hard because I live in a very expensive area that's also near a large university so most kids are in daycare all day because either both parents have to work or because parents are grad students who also need their children in daycare so they can study. I'm in neither one of those categories and it doesn't help that I stay home all day, so meeting people is hard! But like I said, I suppose I just need to put in a little more effort and let God take it away!

  4. Sometimes I have met people at daily Mass, mom's night out at church, waiting in line for Confession (!), storytime at the library, once per week Kindermusik class, or just at the park. It can be a challenge to live in a ritzy area, but remember what Mother Teresa said: “The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty -- it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There's a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.” I think many many mothers today (at home or working) are very lonely. If you feel called to start something, maybe start with talking to your pastor? Or see if there's a group like the Legion of Mary where you live? Or just start visiting nursing homes yourself, and then gradually others can join you? God bless!

  5. Thanks for the encouragement! And what a beautiful quote and so true! I talked to my pastor almost a year ago now so I think I'll talk to him again and perhaps he knows of more moms that I don't! I am very grateful that I can stay at home with my kids, even if I am alone with them most of the time. I can't imagine the loneliness that mothers who work full time experience, especially those with stressful jobs. But I believe deep loneliness comes from estrangement from God... With God we are never alone. So if we can get close to God while keeping each other company, all the better! Anyhow, thanks for all your encouragement and thanks for keeping up your blog! It's the only one of it's kind I've found that marries Montessori with Catholicism, which, from what I gather, was Maria Montessori's intent all along!