Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The purity of a child's prayer

Adults are so quick to want children to grow up. We forget that they are not just adults in training, but real living people with unique charisms all to themselves. They are capable of their own special relationship with God that we'd do best not to interefere with too much. Reading an old Montessori essay on this really put that thought in perspective for me. Moms like me get a big kick out of sharing funny little stories about their children's spirituality. Junior plays "Holy Communion" with brother, or starts baptizing the kids at the play group, or asks loudly during Mass where Jesus' clothes are on the Cross. These things are all "cute" to us. We laugh when they put a bowl of cereal in front of the statue because it looks hungry or when they sing church songs and do their own processions in the home. It's all so darling isn't it?!

Be careful with this.

Christ was very clear about letting the little children come to Him and if we are offering little giggles and smirks when our kids express their spirituality... we are inadvertantly giving them the message that there's something "abnormal" or out of the way about it. OURS is the "right way" to worship: lofty, serious, and composed. But the little ones are closer to Christ than we are!!! And in their minds, they are trying to make sense of the spiritual world in ways that they can understand. This is beautiful and noble! Sometimes, it's hard to resist sharing with a friend something that my kids do that I think is funny or cute in a spiritual way. But I won't be making a public spectacle of it... especially if they are around. I certainly wouldn't want my spirituality to be the topic of conversations. Let's just say it right now, all kids from Catholic families do "sweet" things or say "cute" things regarding the Faith at one time or another. I think offering a gentle smile is fine when your child wants to cuddle the statue or pray for their toys etc. I may even make a note of it in the journal of letters I write to each of them (to give on their 18th birthday). But I don't think we should laugh or otherwise disvalidate what they are doing, especially in front of them. It's more than just "cute." Like the Blessed Mother, who experienced the mysteries of the Christ Child's spirituality, we should "hold these things in our hearts" because the prayers and rituals of our children are 100 times more pure and real than those of our own.


one of us :: 7:02 AM :: 1 Comments