In 2008, I began writing Life with God for Children with the main desire to write something I’d want to use. As a classroom teacher and a person who walks with God, I wanted a curriculum that would foster and feed the relationship that already exists between a child and God.
Imagining how to structure this enormous project, I had some specifics in mind, things I had learned in my years teaching children and my years working with and writing curriculum. There is a temptation for adults to train children like they are cyborgs. We think we are beginning with a blank slate that is passively formed under our influence. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Moldable: Children come with their own temperament, developmental level, and even with their own imprint of the image of God. As they grow, their life experiences will shape them as well. So, when I began to write this curriculum, I didn’t want one that was built for automatons, but real children. As a result, Life with God for Children is moldable to the child. There are portions for nearly every kind of learner, there are options, and there are developmental levels. It should be adapted to meet the needs of the children we teach. We are teaching children, not curriculum.
Encountering: I was looking for in a curriculum that prioritized experiencing God. Children are constantly being taught. We teach them new words, how to brush their teeth and make their beds. At school they learn math, reading, and science. The kind of direct teaching we do can make them passive participants and therefore learning experiences never really become their own. When we employ these methods in Christian formation, we risk inoculating children against the very abundant life we want them to have. Like adults, children long for an encounter with God. Life with God for Children makes the space for children to have that encounter. Children are often asked to listen to God, and act on what God says to them.
With-ing: “With” is an important word when working with children. Children are keenly aware when we are teaching something we don’t know ourselves. Even as children can benefit from our knowledge and wisdom, they will also benefit (some may argue they benefit even more) from participation and presence. If we are going to accompany children in their life with God, we will need to have an active life with God. It is like trying to serve a gourmet dinner and refusing to taste it. The guests are going to think something is fishy. We are co-pilgrims with these folks who teach us patience and kindness and childlike abandon to the Father. They are good at it, and we have much to learn.
02. Grades Pre-K & K
03. Grades 1 & 2
04. Grades 3 & 4
05. Grades 5 & 6
Lacy Finn Borgo, DMin, is a member of the Renovaré Ministry Team. She teaches, provides spiritual direction and is the Student Care Coordinator for the Renovaré Institute for Spiritual Formation. Lacy also teaches courses on Children’s Spirituality and Spiritual Direction through the CompanioningCenter.org. She has a spiritual direction ministry for adults, and provides spiritual direction for children at Haven House, a transitional facility for families without housing. Her recent books are Faith Like a Child: Embracing Our Lives as Children of God, Spiritual Conversations with Children: Listening to God Together and the children’s picture book All Will Be Well. Lacy lives on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains and worships with a local Quaker Meeting. You can find her at www.GoodDirtMinistries.org.