If the reader will forgive my use of a somewhat cliché prefix, I would like to talk about an idea for which I know no word. Therefore, for the purpose of this post, I will use the term “metacatechesis.” I would like to define this word to refer to teaching our children to teach the Lutheran catechism to each successive generation.
One concept we study as we are training to become teachers is “metacognition.” This refers to the process of thinking about thinking. It is a reflective process we encourage in our students so that they can first know a thing and then develop an awareness of the fact *that* they know it, why they know it, and how they know it. This reflection deepens the knowledge acquired and creates greater ownership of that information or skill in the student. As I ponder the topic of catechesis, this idea returns to me but with a slight twist. I ask myself, how does metacognition play out in catechesis?
When our family found its way to the Lutheran faith, one issue of great concern to us was to teach this newly found faith to our children, to root them firmly and raise them up in it. A second issue, one which followed closely after the first, was how to do our utmost to develop a generational perspective in our family with regard to catechesis. We wanted to know what we believe and why we believe it for ourselves. We also wanted to know how to teach our children this faith and to ensure that they would do the same in turn when they were heads of their own households.
To do this, I believe we parents need to practice metacatechesis. We must teach our children to love and value the catechism. Without a doubt, we must know what we believe, teach, and confess and why we believe, teach and confess it. But then what? We must teach them how important catechesis is to the life of a Christian (Matthew 28:19-20). We must teach them the value of metacatechesis. That is, if we want our great-grandchildren to also receive this “faith once delivered to the saints,” we must teach our children to teach their children to teach their children.