After just six weeks of meditating,a class of five year old children was asked: “What does meditation mean to you?” Their responses were beautifully simple.
Often children have been regarded as the empty vessels into which adult religious wisdom is poured: the virtual channels for ‘handing on the faith’.
Children are usually written about as objects of faith, rather than subjects. Many traditional approaches to spiritual development of children thus miss the point. The real challenge is to build on the ‘spiritual competence’ each child is endowed with; then the development of faith is made possible.
As teachers of Christian Meditation to children we must accept the assumptions about the spiritual development of children that underlie the guidelines below if we are to effectively teach them meditation:
- Recognise that each child is born as a spiritual being
- Be prepared to work with and alongside the child
- Listen to what the child has to offer
- Honour each child’s relationship with the divine
- Always try to make the experiences of meditation positive
- Never judge the child’s meditation
Children do come ready equipped for their spiritual journey; they have awareness and openness, which all too often can get pushed aside as the child grows older. When teaching Christian Meditation words are not everything. By allowing communication through stillness, silence, and the senses, we can trust in God to do the work of God and talk to children in the silence.
Does meditating enhance a child's spirtual development? ...
Assistant Director, Townsville Catholic Education
In my Diocese we have introduced Christian Meditation to children in all grade levels in our schools. The experience thus far has been very exciting.
After the first six months of our ‘trial’ period all the teachers (fifteen of them) came together to share their initial experiences. One teacher who was teaching Grade One students (6 years of age) told me the story of Jacob.
How successful is Christian Meditation?...
Director, Townsville Catholic Education
Jacob had been diagnosed with ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder. Young Jacob was a noisy, fidgety, over-active student. He just couldn’t keep still in class. The teacher really didn’t think Jacob could ‘do’ meditation for one minute let alone six minutes which the programme was aiming for.
Jacob tried very hard however and he did try to sit still and silent. After three weeks of slowly building up to six minutes of silence the teacher noticed that Jacob would sit on his hands when meditation began. The teacher asked Jacob after one of the meditation sessions why he was sitting on his hands. The teacher tried not to make a judgement about Jacob’s unusual method of meditating but she was intrigued as to why he would sit on his hands. Jacob’s response was beautiful:
“I am sitting on my hands because I want to be still for Jesus.”
I am not suggesting a miracle happened but Jacob can sit for six minutes, still and silent, and he loves his meditation times.