Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Spirituality of Children

Remember the questions your four-year-old child, student or grandchild asked you that left you totally awestruck? One of our Sisters who taught second grade once asked her students questions like, “What is the sun for?” She received the certain answer of a child, “Why to give light of course!” The teacher continued with asking the purpose of the moon, stars, and rain. Then she asked the children, “What is the mind for?” Raising his hand, a child replied emphatically, “For truth!” Sister asked how he knew that, and his response was, “I’ve always known that.”

I thought of that story when I read the June 17, 2010 Speaking of Faith Newsletter from American Public Media, where Krista Tippett writes of a recent program on the spirituality of parenting. She writes: “Raising a new human being in this world is a monumental spiritual task, yet we so rarely call it that.” Tippett reminds parents and each of us that the experience of raising children does not get easier when children become “little theologians and philosophers asking the basic questions about how we got here and where god lives and why people die and why people hurt each other and what it means to be good and to be happy.” Any of you who are parents, grandparents, ministers and teachers have stories of the astounding wisdom and depth of the questions children ask. Their questions and the responses they receive from the adults in their lives are the beginning of their religious world view, and form an ethics and morality for living.

Ms. Tippett’s guest for the program was Rabbi Sandy Susso, author of God’s Paintbrush. People who have used this book with their children report that it makes it possible to think about God in a personal way and to ponder God’s personal relationship with each one of us. The book would be valuable for people of any faith background. In case you are intrigued with the information in the newsletter, and want to read more, click here to visit the program, or click here to register for the free newsletter.
photo: S. Agatha Zwilling with her St. Joseph Lab School reading buddy at Saint Benedict's Monastery

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