The verdict was never in question regarding parents as first teachers of their children. Parents really are the first teachers in the lives of their children.
Eventually, the teachers and catechists pick up the ball and keep it going. We inspire, we prod, we impart knowledge. We keep the learners going and growing.
But we are a kind of middleman in the whole process of learning. We know that learning is a life-long process. If we don't teach them how to learn, their education will end when they graduate from high school or college. We have to help them to discover a love for learning so that they will choose to become their own best teachers.
With regard to religious education, though, the process does not end there. The student must become a teacher-of-self., but the final teacher must be God.
Spiritually, parents are first teachers in the lives of their children. Then, the Church and catechists keep the ball going. At Confirmation, the young person promises to keep growing in the Faith. But he is not self-taught. The Holy Spirit, through the guidance of the Church, leads and guides him. In a very real way, God becomes our last teacher.
Granting wisdom and understanding.
Right judgment and courage.
Knowledge and reverence.
Wonder and awe in the Lord.
The one who sees himself as his last teacher will almost always fail - spiritually. We do not lean on our own understanding. We keep going back to the Source and Summit. We keep drawing deeply from the Wellspring of Life.
Parents are the first teachers in the faith. Catechists stand beside the parents during the formative years. The student picks up the mantle at his/her Confirmation.
But God is the Last Teacher.
Lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make straight your path.
The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name--he will
teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you. -Jesus
I Timothy 3:15
If I am delayed, you will know how to conduct yourselves...in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and
foundation of the truth.