By Christine V. Hides
“When you answer a question at church, you will be right 90% of the time if you say ‘God’ or ‘Jesus.’”
This is a joke I have heard pastors tell children many times over the years. While they usually aren’t wrong, they should be. If our goal is deep engagement with the stories of the Bible, engagement that fosters an interweaving of our own story, knowledge, and experience then questions with one-word answers are insufficient.
Educators are familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy, a hierarchy of cognitive tasks ordered from the simplest (remembering) to the most complex (creating). When we ask closed-ended questions with a predetermined answer we are shortchanging kids’ learning and growth. Lasting faith that enlivens and sustains us requires more than telling an adult what they want to hear.
In this short video above, “A Glimpse into Children’s Wondering Time”, we explain how the Godly Play approach is part of Children’s Ministry’s re-imagining of how we will engage children more deeply with the stories and symbols of our faith. You will hear the ways children not only remember the Easter story but also create connections between the stories and symbols used in the Godly Play chapel. By the end of the wondering time we have used the materials to create a rich depiction of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection, and the meaning for us today.
When I told the story of the Ark and the Flood to four year-olds last week I asked them what the most important part of the story was. Some said the boat others the rainbow. Another said, “God.” Wanting to encourage deeper thinking I replied, “I wonder where God is in this story?” One child replied that God was by Noah. Another perhaps reminded of images of the three wise men suggested that God was riding the camel onto the ark. To which I replied, “I wonder if God is in many places?”
At the end of class a child came up to me and said, “In that story I am standing on the top of the rainbow.” He’s made a connection that God’s promises are for him something he can stand on. May our questions lead us ever closer to the mystery, wonder, and faithfulness of God. Amen.
In this time of Easter tide continue to ask, “Where have I noticed God today?” This one open-ended question has the power to transform our faith. If your family is using this question to start conversations at home, send me an email or give me a call. I’d love to hear your story.