Children Come to the Light

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Rangel, Karen
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4) Children have the remarkable ability to see Christ’s light. They freely tell you when they talk to God. They accept the gifts of the spirit and live grace filled lives. They question so that they can strengthen their faith, not doubt it. We as adults need to learn from them. We need to learn from their innocence and grow from the challenging questions they have about faith. Teaching vacation bible school one summer a young girl asked me how she would know when the Holy Spirit was talking to her. I was excited by the question and wanted to continue, but it wasn’t in the curriculum. Our job was to teach for 15 minutes and get ~ ready for the next group. The words we were teaching were, “believe in God.” Of course we taught this concept through story telling, elaborate costumes, and games that had a connection in some way and by showing a video. It was trite, and the kids knew it. They hungered for more. They already believed in God; we didn’t need to teach them that. As adults we think we need to make everything fun. We spend money on props and crafts that are promptly thrown away as soon as the children are home. But it is not what the children want. I am convinced that children want substance. If you introduce the Stations of the Cross they will beg you to say them with them. If you teach them the traditional prayers of the Church, they will fall in love with the Church. “But your children are just special,” is a comment I often hear. These people think it is because I inundate them with theology. But I have seen it again and again. I have learned through experience that in teaching any children’s program in which theology that challenges and engages children is offered, they can and do fall in love with it and more importantly fall in love with the Christ it calls them to. We are doing a disservice to our children by offering them programs that don’t show respect for the deep faith that they already have.