Tag Archives: children

A World of Wonder

Last week I took two days off to spend time with my just-turned-four-year-old granddaughter. The best I can describe it was two days of wild imagination. We decorated an Easter tree with tiny bunnies, eggs, and chicks that I got out of storage, spent an afternoon at a playground followed by ice cream, visited Grampa at work, read books, and pretended a whole lot. Tea parties, colorful scarves, hide and seek, and discussing all the Disney princesses filled our days.

While she had some quiet time (aka nap without sleeping), I also took a breather and opened the latest Christian Century. Jerome Berryman’s article “Holy story, sacred play: Helping children become fluent in faith” brought a smile to my face. Having had the privilege of sitting on the floor with Jerome going back 25+ years, his article about Godly Play spoke to my time with Mackenzie. And having worked with the Godly Play Foundation to bring the revised and expanded Complete Guide to Godly Play (Vol. 2, 3, 4) to publication as well as offering Godly Play at my parish, Jerome’s words:

“The leader does not offer answers but offers space for children to wonder”

resonated with me in a new way. He describes Godly Play as a

“face-to-face and intimate art”

and while we are

“all designed to create meaning, . . . the art of wondering is forgotten.”

As a grandmother (and editor of faith formation resources), I hope our churches (and families) continue to wonder with children. By giving children a safe space to explore creation, God, and our sacred stories, we are helping them enter the mystery of all that God intended for us – we are beloved children. By giving myself real time off to just “be” with Mackenzie, I too was renewed and reopened to the possibilities that only our imaginations and wonder can give.  

Note: This first appeared as “Mondays with the Editor” on the Church Publishing Incorporated Facebook page.

Nurturing Children to Live Generously

This article first appeared in “Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation” magazine which is published annually by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center. The full magazine (chock-full of great ideas) is available for purchase on their website.

Today’s culture can be toxic for children and other living things. If we build our values on the “put-downs” and sound bites of social media and incidences of daily violence that permeate the news, we might lose hope in what the future could hold for our children. How do we nurture a generous spirit in children when it would seem the world is about self-aggrandizement, winning, and having the most toys?

While we may think children are born as empty vessels waiting for family, teachers, and (yes) the church to fill them with love, knowledge, dreams, values, and a purpose, we know that they are already born with a capacity to know God and experience love. As caretakers of our children, it is our responsibility to nurture that which already exists, by providing an environment where their desire to be loved and part of a community is openly welcomed, acting as role models in what it means to be a generous, loving person made in the image of God.

We are born for sympathy and compassion. In a University of Oregon study[1], economist Bill Harbaugh and psychologist Ulrich Mayr found that charitable generosity activated the reward center of the brain, indicating that our brains are naturally made for kindness. Furthering this research are studies on compassionate meditation such as the one conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which illustrated that through the repeated practice of mindful generosity, we can increase empathetic responses to others.[2]

Continue reading Nurturing Children to Live Generously

Will Your Kids Stay Religious?

English: Map of the US showing the percentage ...
English: Map of the US showing the percentage of people who did not claim religious affiliation. 20%+ 15%+ 10%+ Not part of survey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If a child is securely attached to non-religious parents there is a greater likelihood that child will not be religious as an adult. If a child is insecurely attached to religious parents there is a greater likelihood that child will not be religious as an adult  there is also a fair number in this group who fall into the “spiritual but not religious category.  Mostly because their attachment issues make them suspicious of what researchers call, “social religion”  [i.e., organized religion].

BUT…If child is insecurely attached to non-religious parents there is a greater likelihood that child will grow up to be “spiritual but not religious.”  for the same reasons as above.Finally, children who are securely attached to highly religious parents are the most religiously attached of all groups as adults.

Read more at Will Your Kids Stay Catholic? UPDATED.

You Choose Your Child’s Religion | Plainsong Farm

I constantly run into people who say they won’t impose their religious thoughts, beliefs or traditions on their children, wanting them to make their own choice. Well, how can you make a choice if you don’t know your options?

Nurya Love Parish makes some great observations in response to a recent article / blog post from the New York Times. Read it and pass it along to all the parents of young children you know.

You Choose Your Child’s Religion | Plainsong Farm.