Often in Good Dirt we asked reflective questions. These are great for children beginning in about late 2nd grade depending on the child, but any earlier and it goes something like this…
On Mark 10:32-45, “What has the Son of Man come to do? How can you serve others today?”
After asking this young children will often look at you with a blank stare, or if you’ve got a budding comic on your hands it might be more like, “I think he’s come to eat dinner with us. And Legos are my favorite.”
For children under the age of roughly eight, the beauty of the Seasons of the Church are in the ritual. (“Rhythm” if you are not Catholic.) It’s the daily opening of the Bible and quietly listening to the same stories that will seep in over time, over years. The reflective questions are of little help. The questions will help the older children and certainly the adults, but the younger folks don’t quite have the language to express what they know is true. Their knowledge of the subject is limited.
I know you’re thinking, “Just what do they know?” They know that goodness is something they want. No kid wants bad stuff. None. In my years of teaching I never saw a kid who wanted to be bad. Yes, there were many who couldn’t find their way to goodness, but they always wanted it. Goodness is a characteristic of God.
They know that truth is good. They may not always tell the truth, but they always want the truth told to them. No child likes deceit. Truth is a characteristic of God.
They will always stop and wonder at beauty. Children under the age of eight will still follow a butterfly around the yard just to catch a glimpse of it’s beauty. They will pick the petals of a rose to feel the beauty in their fingers. Beauty is a characteristic of God.
So how do we teach them the language they need? How do we help them connect with the goodness, truth and beauty of God?
When you tuck them in for the night ask,
“When did you see something good today?” Then remind them that God is good.
What made you happy or sad today? (This is telling the truth about themselves. This is the first truth we learn.)
What did you see today that was beautiful?
Don’t choose all of these. and don’t look for a specific answer. Let them simply work their knowledge of God into language. It’s a bit like when they first learned to talk. Lots of babbling, many mispronunciations, joyful laughter and celebration.