Religious Education for Children
Privilege and Responsibility
It is a privilege and an awesome responsibility to be an educator, and it may be the closest we have to a universal human vocation. They are few who do not fulfill the function of educating at some time in one way or another. Of course, to appreciate its breadth of participants, one must expand the notion of education far beyond “schooling”.
Pause for a moment to remember the myriad of people from whom you have learned in your life and you will recognize that you have had a host of educators. As human beings, we are forever teaching and learning from each other.
So, regardless of what teachers teach, they teach people, and the better they teach, the more they influence the whole person-head, heart, and hands. To be educator is to stand on holy ground - people’s lives. No wonder the Bible promises that those who do it well “shall shine like the stars of heaven forever” (Daniel 12:3).
--- Excerpt from “Educating for Life," by Thomas Groom
The End in Religious Education
The great end of religious education is not to stamp our minds upon the young, but to stir up their own; not to make them see with our eyes, but to look inquiringly and steadily with their own; not to give them a definite amount of knowledge, but to inspire a fervent love of truth; not to form an outward reality, but to touch inward springs; not to bind them with ineradicable prejudice to our particular sect or peculiar notions, but to prepare them for impartial, conscientious judging of whatever judging may be offered to their decision; not to burden the memory, but to quicken and to strengthen the power of thought; not to impose religion upon them in the form or arbitrary rules, but to awaken the conscience, the moral discernment. In a word, the great end is to awaken the soul, to excite and cherish spiritual life.
--- William Ellery Channing
It Matters What We Believe
Some beliefs are like walled gardens. They encourage exclusiveness, and the feeling of being especially privileged.
Other beliefs are expansive and lead the way into wider and deeper sympathies.
Some beliefs are like shadows, clouding children’s days with fears of unknown calamities.
Other beliefs are like sunshine, blessing children with the warmth of happiness.
Some beliefs are divisive, separating the saved from the unsaved, friends from enemies.
Other beliefs are bonds in a world community, where sincere differences beautify the pattern.
Some beliefs are like blinders, shutting off the power to choose one’s own direction.
Other beliefs are like gateways opening wide vistas for exploration.
Some beliefs weaken a person’s selfhood. They blight the growth of resourcefulness.
Other beliefs nurture self confidence and enrich feelings of personal worth.
Some beliefs are rigid, like the body of death, impotent in a changing world.
Other beliefs are pliable, like the young sapling, ever growing with the upward thrust of life.