Why I am an NFP teacher

Once again, the original intent of a post that has been sitting in my Drafts queue too long has been lost. Never mind that, I have another idea.

A couple of weekends ago my lovely wife and I gave a talk about NFP to a group of Pre-Cana couples. This is something new that we have started doing, and, I at least, really like it.

For those who don’t know NFP stands for Natural Family Planning.

We have been NFP teachers for about 12 years now. We are volunteers, and the organization that we work with is the Couple to Couple League International.

We call ourselves the NFP dropouts but that really isn’t true. The name stems from two things.

  1. First for most of our marriage we have not actually used most of the charting and other techniques for child spacing, or for getting pregnant, we have been very blessed and things have just worked out for us in that department. So far we have not had the desire or the need to do so. Though on some level we do use it, just most for our information.
  2. We actually only attended the first class, and then took the home study course after that. It is and was a great course, but finding a teaching couple that you can relate to is very important. Our Teaching couple was a bit like talking to our grandparents, which made it a little uncomfortable. When you are going into something that you are not sure about, that is as personal as this, being comfortable with it is very important.

We don’t teach a lot of classes. But the ones that we do teach have been for the most part really successful. I enjoy teaching the classes, and in the past few years the teaching materials have really improved, making teaching it that much better.

I do enjoy teaching these classes, but I think I enjoy getting the chance to talk to people more free form about NFP like we will do this weekend with the pre-Cana class.

This is going to sound kind of odd but even though the Pre-Cana classes are bigger than our normal NFP class the format for the talk is more intimate.  My wife and I get to intersperse our our experiences in ask part of what we are telling them.

My favorite part of this is what I call the “Guys talk.”  The class that we teach is really about learning the method, and while I do spend some time talking about how as a husband you need to support your wife and be a part of this, It is in very small chunks and I don’t really get into the meat and potatoes of it.  And that is really what guys are about, meat and potatoes, we have to hear the what and the why.

This is something that my wife and feel very strongly about. And something we would like to share with more people. For a long time I have felt called to do more of, but I was not sure how. In an effort to get the word out to more people we have decided to send a letter all the priests and deacons the the two surrounding diocese, introducing ourselves and letting them know what we can do. So below is the letter. Let me know what you think.

To: The Priests and Deacons of the Buffalo and Rochester Diocese,

My name is Jeff Hite and I represent the Couple to Couple League International chapter that cover these two diocese. I am writing to you today to help you get a better understanding of what we teach and how we might be able to help you face this often difficult and touchy subject.

Who we are:

My wife and I have been teaching with the Couple to Couple League for just about 12 years. We were actually taught Natural Family Planning by one of the the original couples to join Couple to Couple League back in the 1950’s. We live right on the boarder between the two diocese. There is one other active teaching couple in the area who live near the east side of Rochester and one couple in training who live in the middle of the Buffalo Diocese. With a number of non teaching couples spread around. As you can see we are a smallish group but we are spread out enough to serve the entire area.

What we teach:

If you are not familiar with the Couple to Couple League International and the method of NFP that they teach I would like to take a moment to give you a quick explanation. There are two parts of what we teach first, what we teach is the actual method. The method we teach is called the Sympto Thermal Method. This is not the rhythm method or the calendar method, but a scientifically based method for determining when a woman is fertile and when she is not. The method also stresses that this is totally natural, and that there is no risk to either member of the couple. Though we spend the majority of our time in class focusing on the method itself there is something else.

The second, and I think just as important thing we teach is that this method is about the whole person. This is not a biology lesson, though that is part of what we teach. We rely heavily on the Humanae Vitae and the teachings of Pope John Paul II. Through this we look at the whole person and explain the important role of the couple in making this successful. We cover how the husband and wife’s active participation can not only help to make this a success but can also help to strengthen their marriage. Respect for the entire person is probably the most important thing we stress.

Why now:

There are a number of reasons that we are approaching you now. As I said my wife and I have been teaching for about 12 years, our class sizes are almost always small, which works out well for us, but they are also few and far between, which is not so good. In the past several years we have noticed that our classes are filled more and more by Protestants that really want a method that works naturally and will help them build their marriage. We welcome the chance to teach our protestant brothers and sisters, and hope that we can continue to teach them this wonderful method, and open their eyes to the Catholic Church in the process. What is disturbing is that while we are getting more and more Protestants we are getting fewer and fewer Catholics.
In this day and age, with divorce rates climbing and marriage itself under attack, stressing the Church’s teachings on the whole person seems only appropriate. Also with the number of couples seeking out fertility treatments, learning how to read the bodies language of fertility is a highly sought after skill.

How we can help:

We understand that this can be a difficult subject to talk about. It can be hard for a priest, with all that entails, to approach an entire congregation and say, “You can’t use contraception.” I know the looks I get when I start talking about this because I am a “guy” and I am a married man with kids to boot, so I do understand. So what can we offer to help you:

  • First, we offer the classes.
  • The classes are taught in three session over the course of three months.
  • Each session lasts about 2 hours.
  • We can teach to both married and engaged couples.
  • We teach them on demand when we get interested couples.
  • The classes are about $120 that covers the books and materials.
  • Let me take a moment to say that CCLI is a non profit. All of the teaching couples are volunteers and all of the money from the classes goes into making the program better.
  • It this chapter’s policy to never turn a couple away. Scholarships are available, but I personally would rather pay for it out of my own pocket than to turn a couple away.
  • We can speak as part of your Pre-cana programs.
  • We can speak during Mass, after communion and before the final blessing is a great time.
  • We can speak at pretty much any occasion where you have a group of husbands and wives or future husbands and wives.
  • I won’t speak for the rest of the husbands but I will also gladly to talk to groups of husbands or future husbands in situations where it would be better to have a guy talking. (Things like a men’s prayer meeting or a men’s retreat.)

Our talks can range from: A brief overview of what NFP is about to a personal statement about why we use NFP and anything in the middle.

As you can see we can help in many ways. We invite you, to contact us for more information, or discuss other ways that we can be of service to you. Please feel free to contact us by phone or e-mail.

Our Phone number is: ###-###-####
Our email address is: *****.*****@*****.***

Thank you and God Bless,
Jeffrey Hite

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