My favorite part of leading BLAZE is getting to answer questions.
Middle school-aged girls are filled with questions. They have doubts, they desire clarification, and they want to share their thoughts in a space that will allow them to make their relationship with God personal and meaningful.
Somewhat in contrast to past generations, seventh and eighth graders of today are unwilling to go through the motions. They want something more.
BLAZE was created to give women the words and the tools they need to lead their daughters closer to Christ with confidence. But BLAZE is only a conversation starter. For this curriculum to truly have a long-lasting effect, it must be brought into conversation outside of the school or the small group or the youth group. For the words in this written curriculum to truly transform the hearts of young girls, it must be brought into the home.
We have done our best to create a component of BLAZE to make this possible. The Between You and Me: Mother-Daughter Devotional was put together to give moms the words to spend intentional time in conversation with their daughters about the lessons taught in BLAZE. Whether or not this is used in conjunction with any of the other aspects of the curriculum, this beautiful book has the potential to lead to the most important form of faith formation: conversation in the home.
But, I am writing to you today because I am very aware of a challenging truth; it is not enough to just make conversation starters like this accessible. You - as moms, grandmas, aunts, and sisters - need to invite this sort of dialogue into your homes. You need to be willing to create the space for girls to express their doubts and share their ideas. Sure, the Mother-Daughter Devotional is a beautiful gift that will look lovely on a bedside table, but for it to truly serve its purpose, it must be opened. My hope is that this book looks well-loved after it is read. I hope it is bookmarked and highlighted and scribbled in. And, I pray that the words no longer exist only on the pages. I pray that these words have ventured off into the hearts of both you and the precious child of God who you are reading with.
But above all, whether you use this curriculum or not, I hope that the open space which you create in your home for conversation is a hospitable one. May it be a space where girls can feel comfortable asking any and every question on their heart about God and faith and the Catholic church. Trust me, they have all of the questions and I guarantee, some of them will make you uncomfortable. For many of these questions, you will not have the answers. But fear not, your job is not always to respond. Your job is to hear and embrace. More than answers, your daughters need to know that their questions are okay. Their doubts need to be affirmed.
I know you want to have all of the answers. I do too. I know that you will fumble to answer certain questions in an effort to be the best at-home catechist that you can be. I do this all of the time. But it's time to be okay with not knowing. Your daughter would much rather you sit in the unknown with them than try to answer their doubt away.
And here's the beauty of entering into conversation and diving into the BLAZE curriculum at home...if you allow it to, it will teach you too. I pray that you are open to this.
And if you don't know how to sit in the unknown, let me give you one small piece of advice: let your daughter try to answer the questions for herself first. Find out what she thinks. Ask her questions. Let her know that you don't know all of the answers and give her permission to brainstorm what she thinks the answers may be.
In a truly fruitful conversation, both parties leave the dialogue with a takeaway. Give the middle schooler in your life permission to teach you about God in your attempt to teach her. I guarantee, if you welcome BLAZE into your home, it will change your heart as much as it will change your daughter's.
So, here is BLAZE. I hope that you are as excited about this gift as we are to give it to you. I pray that you may not only welcome it into your school and church, but that you would welcome it into your home as well.
Your daughter needs you. She wants to ask you the same questions that she is asking her friends or her religion teacher. Give her the space to do that.
In BLAZE, you will find some of the words. You will find a few of the answers. But mostly, you will find conversation starters. You will have the tools to learn about the Lord alongside your daughter. I implore you, don't let this moment pass you by. The time for your daughter to build a foundation for her faith is here and now and you are the best person equipped to lay down the bricks, one conversation at a time.
PS: I know you have a million and one questions about BLAZE and we have done our best to answer as many of your questions as we can! For further questions, please see our FAQs and if you still need answers, please contact us!