One of my favorite stories from Anne Lamott is her explaining why she made her (now grown) son Sam go to church as a child. She gives humorous detail about trying to get him enthused — all to no end. She jokes that he goes because she is 75 pounds bigger and she can make him. But then she quickly goes on to say, “The main reason is that I want to give him what I found in the world, which is to say a path and a little light to see by. Most of the people I know who have what I want — purpose, heart, balance, gratitude, joy — are people with a deep sense of spirituality.”
This summer, it was with those words bubbling in my soul that the wrestling with how to revamp, reframe, reimagine the foundations for our ministry with children began. These past few years have revealed a truth to us all….life is fragile and there are things (sometimes lots of things) that are beyond our control. One of the best gifts we can give our children is the truth that this life is bigger than just us, there is a higher worth than the sum total of our day to day, and connection to a sacred presence brings a sense of meaning to the fullness of our lives.
In recent parent preview sessions, we shared Dr. Lisa Miller’s, The Spiritual Child, and her insights into the importance of nurturing a child’s spirituality. All humans are hardwired for spirituality – use it or lose it – a child’s (and adults) spiritual faculty flourishes with support and encouragement to grow strong. Miller’s research shows how a spiritual foundation can be a bedrock for thriving throughout life – ups, downs and sideways – a relationship with a higher power can support us in all times. Seeking to support families with children, as parents play a powerful role in every aspect of the child’s development, calls us to attend to their spirituality.
And yet it is not solely the parents who must nurture the young among us. All within the faith community play a role and benefit from connecting with young souls, as children summon us for a sacred journey. Children bring the wonder, awe and mystery of the world to us anew and invite us into conversation of the most ordinary of everyday trials and triumphs. What a glorious gift to be in a community with a range of ages and stages of life.
As we begin afresh to welcome children into Sunday School we are seeking to engage them in a way that allows for their agency in claiming and growing in relationship with God. Children from preschool through 5th grade will explore Biblical stories and foundations that call for us to love God and love neighbor, to care for each other and our earth and to celebrate this diverse world! The second floor will be alive with wondering, imagining and experiencing as we seek to walk with our youngest members as they find their path.