Scentsy scent of the day: Welcome Home – Warm and welcoming with cinnamon and spices
I love these last days of summer as they transition into the first days of fall. I’m so ready for a different view; green leaves erupting into magnificent yellows, oranges and reds, fierce heat yielding to cooler temperatures that invite me to start baking again. The aroma of cinnamon and spices emanate from the kitchen and invite at least one of the precious littles to hop up on a “stool chair” as my 3-year-old is fond of calling them, to help me stir, roll, or simply taste as we create together.
It’s in these mundane minutes of just being, being present to the people around us, being present to the task at hand, that truly divine conversations start with my children, conversations that make me stop and ponder in a most marvelous way.
“Mama,” my sweet 7-year-old started, “when we’re raised from the dead, will we be babies or old?”
Whew! I can’t say I was ready for that one from my budding theologian.
I love that my kids ask these kinds of questions! It’s so easy to go down the road to trying to figure out an answer. More often than not, I find my mind racing down that road, thinking through logically, trying to reason out an answer based on what I from Scripture or theology. I like knowledge. I like having right answers.
Deep down inside, though, the reality is, I don’t know for sure, and truth be told, I’m not convinced she needed me to have some fact or theological argument ready to give back to her.
I’ve been privileged to become familiar with a Montessori-based method of faith formation for children, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, developed by Sofia Cavalletti, that has expressions in Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches. It’s breathtakingly beautiful as much as it is challenging. In true Montessori style, it does not set up a teacher as possessor of knowledge that must be given to children in carefully portioned quantities based on what the teacher thinks must be learned and when.
In the book that introduces the philosophy of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, The Religious Potential of the Child, Cavelletti writes, “In helping the child’s religious life, far from imposing something that is foreign to him, we are responding to the child’s silent request: ‘Help me to come closer to God by myself” (RPOC, 45).
Still later, she writes in chapter 2, “The adult’s task is certainly to initiate the child into certain realities. There are events at the basis of Christianity that the adult should make known; there is an inheritance of truth and values that the adult should transmit with the whole of his lived life, but also through the word. In other words, the adult should proclaim God, who reveals His love through His Christ…” and later, “The receivers of the kerygma [proclamation of the Good News] are the child and the adult; they are simultaneously announcers and listeners.”
(Note: These are but short quotes – anyone with an interest in the religious formation of children would be well served by reading slowly and prayerfully!)
In stopping to mindfully listen to my children’s wonderful questions about God, I am discovering thanks to such wisdom that as in so many areas of parenting – I don’t need to have all of the answers. Really – in this context, when it comes to living a life of faith, while I have some additional life experience to share, I am neither more nor less than a co-hearer of the Word with them; my role is both to actively listen to and proclaim the very same Gospel.
It’s both humbling and freeing. It also begs a certain clarity of focus on that which is essential in communicating the truth of God’s love to my children at each stage of their lives in developmentally appropriate ways, and willingness to ponder that love and it’s implications with them as co-hearers of the Word.
It’s not that theology is unimportant; certainly one day I hope to pursue formal theological studies myself. The time for helping them work through theological treatises will come. In these tender years, though, I know that information without a solid rooting in knowing of God’s love for them is empty – nor is it the fullness of the Gospel.
It’s amazing to me, when and where these kinds of questions emerge, reminding me of the sacredness of the mundane moments of everyday life; witnessing my young children seeking the God who loves them. What a blessing to be entrusted with listening to and reflecting the eternal Word – with apron on, sleeves rolled up, and flour just about everywhere. Here’s to more catechesis in the kitchen all autumn long!
What about you? How might you facilitate mindful moments with those you love this season?