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Explore the Remarkably Complex Spiritual Lives of Children & Youth

by Lifelong Learning Staff

Photo by Rosen Georgiev.

While the teen years are often a time of strong emotions, testing of boundaries, and questioning of authorities, it is also a time with potential for amazing spiritual growth, says Kathy Dawson, CTS Associate Professor of Christian Education.

Similarly, toddlers and young children are full of spiritual questions, ideas, and experiences – much richer and more complex than we might imagine.

“Adolescence and young adulthood (ages 13-30) are often periods when people are most receptive to God’s presence,” Dawson says. “Many people trace their awakening or conversion to Christianity to this period of their lives. It is a time to embrace the spiritual journey toward God as one’s own, rather than simply following in the family’s footsteps.”

Learn how children and youth grow and dwell in faith at different ages, by enrolling in the Lifelong Learning course, “The Spiritual Life of Children & Youth,” September 15-18, on the seminary campus.

When we enrich our understanding of the spirituality of children and young people, we become better equipped to find ways the church can nurture and teach these age groups,” Dawson says, “and we may be inspired with ideas for new ministries.

“In this course, we will experience together helpful methods and resources for spiritual formation for ages 0-18 and beyond.”

Too often, Christian parents don’t feel equipped to talk with their children about moral and spiritual matters, says Marcia J. Bunge, in the book, “Nurturing Child and Adolescent Spirituality: Perspectives from the World’s Religious Traditions” (Rowman & Littlefield: New York; 2006). (Participants will be reading Bunge’s article in this Lifelong Learning course.)

Without an educated understanding of the spiritual lives of young people, “we tend to depict infants and young children as pure and innocent beings whom we adore and teenagers as hidden and dark creatures whom we must fear,” Bunge says.

If we can develop a more vibrant and complex understanding of the spiritual lives of children and young people, Bunge says, we can enrich our educational programs and “take up more wholeheartedly and responsibly the Christian call to love and care for all children.”

For details or to register, click here