Spiritual Direction with Children
Taking kids' spirituality seriously.
"When you give someone flowers, you arrange them beforehand, don't you?"
- Rainer Maria Rilke,
On Love & Other Difficulties
This work assumes that kids already have a rich and colorful spiritual life. Doing spiritual direction with them simply offers kids a space to gather, name, and arrange the mystery, beauty, doubt, awe and love that is showing up in their lives. For 45 minutes they'll have the undivided attention of an unhurried adult, along with some sensory tools, crafts, smells and bells - whatever helps them tell stories about their life, ask questions, and savor the goodness in their lives.
Children are thirsty to be heard, but it may take a moment or two of silence in order for them to feel like they can fill the space with their thoughts and feelings, ultimately with their own power to be heard.
Spirituality is like a bird;
if you hold it too tightly, it chokes;
if you hold it too loosely, it flies away. Fundamental to spirituality is the absence of force.
Lacy Finn Borgo
Rabbi Hugo Gryn,
as quoted in Children's Spirituality by Rebecca Nye
There is deep wisdom within our very flesh, if we can only come to our senses and feel it.
Elizabeth A. Behnke,
as quoted by Resmaa Menakem in My Grandmother's Hands
To listen another's soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be almost the greatest service that any human being performs for another.
Like a wild animal, the soul is tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy, self-sufficient: it knows how to survive in hard places....
Yet despite its toughness, the soul is also shy. Just like a wild animal, it seeks safety in the dense underbrush, especially when other people are around. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, yelling for it to come out. But if we will walk quietly into the woods, sit patiently at the base of a tree, breathe with the earth, and fade into our surroundings, the wild creature we seek might put in an appearance. We may see it only briefly and only out of the corner of an eye - but the sight will be a gift we will always treasure as an end in itself.
Parker Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness
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A very special thanks to two grants I received in 2022 to start and subsidize this ministry: the Anglican Foundation of Canada and their generous Say Yes! To Kids grant, and the United Church of Canada and their Embracing the Spirit Grant. And to Emmaus Community and Abbey Church for partnering with me in the grants and housing this ministry in 2022 - thank you!