Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Children's Spirituality: Living in the Present

More thoughts from Kathryn Copsey's book, From the Ground UpCopsey shares with us a little of Henri Nouwen's experience working with children in Peru:

"The children always challenge me to live in the present. They want me to be with them here and now, and find it hard to understand that I might have other things to do or think about . . . I marvel at their ability to be fully present to me."

It's true. Children have this remarkable ability to live the present moment to its fullest and be 100% there. It is an important part of their spiritual development and something to be encouraged.

As adults we tend to either live in the future or the past. Or, as Copsey points out, sometimes we live in a sort of parallel world through comparison or social media. And after reading this, I've definitely become more aware of where my thoughts are. This gift of living in the present is something that we can definitely glean from our children's example.

In middle and late childhood, we can help kids continue to cultivate this gift. One way is to not interrupt a child when he/she is engaged in an activity. I am learning to hold my tongue with my kids when they are in the middle of something. I want them to learn to concentrate for long periods of time, and if I constantly interrupt them, their attention spans will not be trained. 

Another way is to limit the various forms of media in our homes and classrooms. This is so that children can continue to take joy in simple things, but also to keep them from being prematurely flooded with adult cares and values. 

Can you think of any other ways to help children cultivate this gift, or to cultivate it in our adult lives?


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