I thank you for your replies. I don’t feel I’m overanalyzing this, though. I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of a third grader and think of how I would process the statement that is in their books. I would take it at face value. What does that mean? Certain things.
Today’s children did not exist at the beginning of creation(in the literal, from a human timeline perspective sense. Please don’t anyone be obnoxious and start quoting Psalms and Jeremiah to try to contradict me on that.) Yet, in the children’s sense of timeline, all that existed at their birth would be included in that statement, including people who were created by God as a result of those children’s parents having sex, thus helping God. The context that the author of the book is using is irrelevant. It needs to be viewed in the context that the children are going to interpret it. An ongoing problem with catechesis of Catholic children is that statements are made in one context, yet interpreted in another context.
I am not discussing sexuality with third graders, but by the time their FORMAL catechesis ends, before Confirmation in 8th or 9th grade, the issue will come up. I don’t want them hearing something then, and thinking that it contradicts something they heard this year. That could cause them to distrust the Church, especially if they have a devout Protestant influence in their lives.
This is a major issue, as teachCCD, you have probably seen. The textbooks used to catechize children often make broad statements that are almost guaranteed to be interpreted differently by the students than intended by the writers. For example, a statement along the lines of, “The Eucharist is the greatest act of Christian worship,” when spoken to fifth graders, is going to give them the impression that receiving Communion is more important than loving God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving their neighbor as themselves. Get a Protestant to show them those words of Jesus in the Bible, and yet another Catholic becomes Protestant with a disdain for, what they wrongfully perceive as the Catholic Church compromising the truth of God, just to support their own agendas(the importance of receiving Communion, and avoiding contraception.)
My point is that as catechists, we should not be making irresponsible statements that are theologically sloppy and incomplete, passing them off as legitimate on the grounds that they are true in the context that WE understand them, when they will be flawed in the manner that children are likely to perceive them.
To clarify, I was not asking for someone to explain this apparent contradiction to me, but for advice on how to clarify what the book is saying, in third grade terms that will not lead to confusion later in life. I’d like to think that children take to heart what they learn in CCD, and I therefore find it very dangerous that I would be teaching them something that will be contradicted later in their catechesis. Phraseology is key when dealing with children.
For example, one time, I told a class of first graders, “keep your hands to yourselves.” Then, they started looking at their hands as if they were going to fall off.