From the Nest…
a blog about faith, parenting and creating sacred space
Kids seem to ask a lot of questions. Some days it feels like a never ending stream of questions. When my boys were young, I felt the need to answer all their queries with some kind of intelligent, empathetic or witty answer.
I would sometimes ramble on with an explanation of why something was the way it was or how something worked the way it worked…until I realized their eyes had glazed over and they had forgotten the original question! Those were not my best parenting moments.
The best moments were when I remembered to breathe and to wonder.
When I was first introduced to Godly Play, the Montessori based curriculum that has been the foundation of my Sunday school experience since 2008, it was the wondering that hooked me. The stories of Godly Play are Bible stories told with simple materials, wooden figures, felt underlays, sand, water. And after the story is told there is a period of wondering—- a time when everyone is invited to wonder and share what they liked best, what was most important, what part of the story was just for them?
This is a sacred time, a time where children can enter these ancient stories and connect with the characters or emotions or situations in very real ways. The wondering creates space for thinking and feeling and becoming part of the story.
At my best as a parent, I remembered the importance of wondering with my own kids. I could take a breath, which helped me slow down and not answer their question so quickly. I could wonder about the question itself. When I remembered to breathe and to wonder, there was space— space for my kids to think and feel and become part of their own question. I learned that many times they already had an answer and when I wondered with them, I experienced the joy of hearing their answers, their ideas, their curiosity and creativity- all of which I would have missed when I jumped to my own answers.
As we begin to tell our Godly Play stories again at St. Luke’s, I invite you to wonder with your child. Pause the video and take as much time as they want to wonder about the story. Savor their ideas, their thoughts, their creativity as they wonder and respond. If you are a St. Luke’s family with young children, you got a delivery of some materials this week.
I hope your family will listen to the stories and respond. Sometimes kids love to tell the story again and again so you have sand and wooden figures that can represent the desert and the people of God. They love to light candles, so you have a candle. They can respond with drawings, paint, clay, everything that is in your box and anything you have at home. May this be a time of connection for your family, a time of building faith as we listen to the stories about the people of God.
God of the storytelling,
God of life and wonder,
Give us ears to hear the stories of other people.
Give us voice to tell our own stories.
Fill us with wonder at the world all around us. Amen
If you have questions or need some support, please reach out.
The Reverend Laura Thornton is the Children and Youth Minister at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Durham, NC.