Within a child there exists a hidden but profoundly spiritual nature that the child desires to live out. We adults can help the child reveal her true nature, but we need to be prepared for the task. Perhaps you have heard the expression, “The eye sees that which the mind is prepared to comprehend”? We can prepare our minds to see the child’s true nature, the treasure hidden within the child.
Think about what a newborn can do. What about a three-year-old? What can s/he do that s/he could not do when newborn? Who taught the child to move, to crawl, sit up, walk, and talk? Physical activity connects the child’s spirit with the world, both to learn concepts and to express him- or herself. Through movement and learning language, children act upon their environment to carry out their personal mission in the world.
While we may think of ourselves as “raising” our child, in many respects the child creates the person she or he will become in relationship with the important adults in her or his life. Dr. Sofia Cavalletti has said that the child has a great capacity for love, not because she lacks love in her life, but because she has so much love to give, more than any person could fulfill. Out of this capacity arises the young child’s capacity and need for relationship with you and with God.
Only God is capable of fully meeting the child’s capacity to love. We have seen children respond readily to Jesus’ message of love in the parable of the Good Shepherd, John 10. The points of the parable that most enchant children are the personal love and protective presence of the Good Shepherd: he calls each one of his sheep by name. He knows each intimately; he calls the sheep and gradually they become accustomed to the voice of their Good Shepherd and listen to him. In this way a precious relationship is established, a thread of love that binds the sheep always more closely to their Shepherd.
The parable of the Good Shepherd is a good introduction to the Bible for any age because it expresses God’s desire to be with us in a relationship of love. Begin with John 10:3-5, 10-11, and 14-16. For this first encounter, it is best to leave out the difficult parts that are inappropriate for young children. Linger on one word or sentence, asking, “what could this mean?” “What could Jesus be saying to us?” Allow time for silence. Wait for your child’s response. There is no need for answers or explanation. Jesus, the Inner Teacher, is speaking to your hearts.
My interactive app for the iPad, Who Are You, Jesus? brings Jesus’ message of love from the Bible to you and your child in a beautiful, engaging way that is easy to use. Touchscreen technology makes God’s message of love accessible to children of all abilities wherever they are. Who Are You, Jesus? adapts to children’s learning styles by enabling them to hear the words of Jesus and respond verbally or non-verbally, using a keyboard, speech-enabled dictation, and a built-in drawing capability. All the child’s responses are automatically saved and become their own, unique book about Jesus. Find it at whoareyoujesus.com
This is the fourth in my series of blogs about children and adults living spiritually. I welcome your comments or questions. Please share this via email, or on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, using the hashtag #WhoAreYouJesus. Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/whoareyoujesus/
Until next time . . .