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Contemplative Kids

Children may be the people most receptive to quiet, reflective spiritual formation.

God touched me!" exclaimed five-year old Collin after he had spent time in the prayer corner.

"What do you mean?" asked one of the leaders.

"I don't know. I just know God touched me, " Collin replied.

A couple of weeks later, four-year-old Tony asked to go to the prayer corner. For five minutes he sat quietly in the curtained off area of the classroom. Then, because the curtain didn't come clear to the floor, I noticed him slip from the chair to his knees, resting his head in his hands on the floor. He stayed in this position for several more minutes.

These unprompted words and actions are certainly not typical of young children. As a research project for the graduate school at Wheaton College, we studied how young children used to a typical preschool experience at church would respond to symbols, liturgy, and reflection. Fifteen preschoolers participated. We were astounded by the results.

Adjusting space, pace, and volume

The first element we adjusted was the use of space. Each week we transformed ...

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