If your child doodles during worship services, use their drawings for conversations about faith.
• Become a seasoned observer of their artwork. “When you begin to watch, you will start to recognize some of their thought patterns,” says Rebeccaâ€¨ Guengerich, a member of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Austin, Texas.
• Ask questions about the pictures they make—even if the artwork appears unrelated to church.
• Sit back and let them describe their sketches. “Adults may not allow enough time for children to be heard,” Guengerich says.
• As children begin to draw more abstract interpretations of God and the church, it’s a cue to pay attention to their faith development. “When children reach [adolescence], many begin leaving the church. Many things they were told may not always make sense anymore,” Guengerich says. “This is a critical stage to involve children in the church.”
Most parents don’t travel light on Sunday mornings—especially if they
share a pew with a little one. Peek in their baby bags or purses and
you’ll find their survival gear: bags of snacks, picture books and a
collection of plastic doodads from fast-food restaurants.
Rebecca Guengerich, a mother of three, was no different. Each time she walked into the sanctuary of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Austin, Texas, she armed herself with her favorite tools for keeping the peace: a box of crayons and some pencils.
“When my children were young, my worship goal was to keep them occupied,” says Guengerich, whose
kids are now teenagers. “I grabbed the children’s bulletin as I entered worship so they would have something to occupy their hands.”
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