Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Child's Way of being with God

In a post from last month, I quoted Rebecca Nye in her book "Children's Spirituality: What it is and why it Matters" defining children's spirituality as "God's ways of being with children and children's ways of being with God." This implies that these ways are often different from the ways that adults spend time with God. As parents, mentors and pastors for children, we have to be constantly observing and sensitive to these ways and make space for them.

One thing I've learned is that children spend time with God at what we adults often consider the most inopportune times.  Yesterday morning I walked my daughter to kindergarten in the pouring rain. I mean, it was raining cats and dogs. Every person in sight was looking stressed and huddled underneath their umbrella or the hood of their rainjacket.  (In central Berlin, a car is more of a hindrance than anything else, so we walk most places.) Life tends to be a musical for my daughter, and soon after leaving our house, she began singing.  I soon realized that the lyrics were a dialogue that she had recently had with another little boy in kindergarten about the existence of God.  The little boy had apparently told her that he didn't believe in God and my daughter responded by telling him her thoughts about God.  She sang his discourse and then her responses to it all the way there.  It honestly sounded a bit like a 5-year-old version of "Carmina Burana". Rather than interrupting her to ask questions, I silently listened and was amazed at the simple wisdom in what she sang about and to God.

Why my daughter picked this moment to begin singing about God in the pouring rain, I cannot say. However, I am very sure that she was processing an incident with God that had a big impact on her and she was deeply engrossed in it.  It was important to her and she need to do this.  And somehow the rain spurred it all on.  

I am glad that she trusts me enough to do this in my presence and know that I will not laugh or interrupt her. I am also glad that her enjoyment of God isn't limited to quiet, meditative places.  And I am thankful that God is opening my eyes to how he spends time with children, so that I can help make room for it.


  1. I love observing how children interact with God. Thanks for sharing this great example.

  2. So glad you enjoyed it, Jaqueline!