By Martha-Lynn Corner, Director of Children’s Ministry
Every Thursday, I have the pleasure of meeting with the Blue, Green, and Yellow rooms for a time of faith formation we call “Little Shepherds.” As St. Stephen’s Preschool is committed to the development of the whole child, through Little Shepherds, the spiritual lives of your children are nourished each week through song, prayers, and Scripture.
It’s amazing what a pure and immediate capacity children have for spirituality. As they learn how the world works, there is an inherent curiosity and easy faith about God that is both inspiring and humbling. Each week, we set our “prayer table” with a cloth, candle, Bible, and statue of the Good Shepherd. Sometimes we focus on a Bible story, sometimes we talk about sacraments like Baptism, and sometimes we talk about what’s happening in the church this time of year.
Last week we began the season of Lent, which the children are learning is a time of quiet preparation for Easter. It’s a time when we set aside the joyful word “Alleluia” and instead replace it with a focus on peace and silence. In each class, we wiggled our bodies and gradually became still and listened for silence. When we were done, I asked them to tell me about it. Some children mentioned that it reminded them of bedtime with Mommy and Daddy…some children were amazed at what they could hear in the quiet, like the ticking of the clock…and, as one child said, “In the silence, we can listen for God.”
This Lent, try experimenting with peace and quiet. As impossible as it may sound, children are so curious about what they might be able to hear that silence can come easily. Consider seeking out a moment of silence every day. Just before bed, observe a peaceful moment in which you and your child can take a deep breath, relax, and listen for God. When outside, see if you can both be silent for a moment and hear the wind and the birds. We may not say “Alleluia” again until Easter, but the quiet of Lent offers many a hidden joy!