Thy will be done.. trying to shape my formation

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by Roly, May 10, 2015.

  1. Roly

    Roly New Member

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    Hi folks
    When I was first asked to memorise and repeat on cue "Thy will be done", my limited vocabulary had only one definition of the word "will". The sentence didn't make any sense to me.
    Although inquisitive, I was a timid kid and didn't ask for clarification.

    Anyone here have any thoughts about the fact that children are asked to memorise and repeat sentences that, considering their age and depth of vocabulary, don't make sense to them?

    Perhaps I'm the only one who didn't get it...I think that's unlikely.

    thanks
    Roly
     
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  2. highchurchman

    highchurchman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Your position friend is quite positive in the comments above, in that,what is missing within the Church is Catholic Teaching plus firm instruction and understanding . Instead of which,our youth get an overdose of multi faith liberalism . When I was in the ,'infant class,' in the early forties we were taught, at a Church School, quite firmly in what beliefs the Church held and the vagueries of the K.J.V.prose!
    My personal opinion is that our children ,in the wider sense are not being prepared for a,' Life in Christ', as it were, either in Sunday School or by their education in state assemblies; they are educated for places within a multi faith commonwealth! I.E. To serve mammon rather than God!
     
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  3. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It is by being made to memorize that we understand. See how well you understand this sentence now, which you may not have, had you been spared the pain of poring over it pondering its meaning.
     
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  4. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    I so agree with you! I personally learned Christianity through repetition and recitation (especially the prayers, which have become dear to me and minister to me in ways that even scripture doesn't..point for another day). I get so frustrated because as a Junior Worship teacher, I realize that the children are not grounded in Christian and Anglican basics. The set curriculum is focused on teaching them by talking to them and honestly, it is not working. Despite us being from the high church side of the fence, the poor things can't even cross themselves.
     
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  5. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Excellent post Z! Every spiritual crisis in the Church can, in one way or another, be traced back to a lack of catechesis.

    Teach your children the way in which they should go and when they are old, they will not depart from it!
     
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  6. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    I'm glad someone sees my point. I'll talk to the other ladies so that we can ask the parish priest to allow us to introduce some recitations..maybe the confession prayer, Lord's prayer and Psalm 23?

    What would you recommend as a starting point...throw in the Apostle's creed maybe?
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2015
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  7. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    With my own children, I taught them how to make the sign of the cross and the invocation and then the Lord's prayer. A little later on we began saying the Apostles Creed. Last we worked through the commandments. That way they learn all the key portions of the historic catechism and are being groomed for confirmation (if I can find a local parish orthodox enough for me to entrust to it the most important people in my life. Dear Lord, have mercy on us and send us a godly priest and congregation where the pure word of God is preached and the sacraments are duly ministered!).

    I started them both young, I mean YOUNG. When they were babies I would hold them before their bedtime and pray God's mercies on them and then verbally say the Lord's Prayer or the creed so it might soak in. Over time they would join in as they were able. It's been a real blessing to watch them grow into the knowledge of God. May He who began the good work in them complete it and hold them in His grace til the day they enter into His rest. Amen!
     
  8. Mark

    Mark Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I learned the faith at the knee of my aunt in the nursery of the Church. She taught us the bible stories of Adam and Eve to Jesus. Always teaching us
    about God and Christ. I learned to love God and Christ at a very young age. To the point when a Baptist would asked me when I accepted Christ into my
    heart, I respond He has always been there.

    I learned the Lord's Prayer or Our Father, from my football (American Football) coach.

    Start with bible stories, go to the Lords Prayer, 23rd Psalm and select Bible verses. Make a game out of it. My Grandfather would get his grandchildren together and have us play "Find the verse" with our bible. He would call out a scripture. We had to find it. The first one to find it read it. Then he explained it. Who ever found the most would get a treat from a piece of candy to driving the boat on the river (my favorite). I learned books, verses etc by a young age.

    When they are older and have a foundation of faith, go line by line through the catechism, Book of Common Prayer and start bible studies. One of the worse sibling arguments I heard was between my oldest daughter and son. Ages 5 and 8. Arguing on the nature of Christ, is He God? My 8 year old was trying to get the 5 year old to understand Christ is both man and divine. They are now 21 and 19 and some of the questions they ask me makes me grab my old theology books to make sure I have it right.
     
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  9. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    May we see more such Godly and Holy parenting examples, as the two of you above. My hat sincerely off to both of you, in honor and admiration


    :tiphat::tiphat:
    :cheers:
     
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  10. Roly

    Roly New Member

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    Thanks for your replies.

    Does anyone who replied think they have answered my question?

    Perhaps I have overlooked something in the replies.

    I believe that teaching children to memorise and repeat on cue, sentences that are not comprehensible, given there language skills, is a mistake.

    Is there something wrong with ensuring that the student comprehends the information they have been asked to memorise and repeat?

    Sorry for my questionable grammar and spelling.

    I paid my dues...did the catechism thing and the alter boy thing.

    I'm a typical lower middle class cat...part of the economic backbone of the church.

    I think my status deserves a more concise reply.

    thanks
    Roly
     
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  11. Roly

    Roly New Member

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    Hi folks

    Perhaps rephrasing the question will make it easier for those interested to post a reply.

    Why is it acceptable to ask children to memorise and repeat sentences that, given their vocabulary, are incomprehensible?

    thanks
    Roly
     
  12. highchurchman

    highchurchman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Your reaction is interesting in what is generally thought as an important method of teaching children! I was taught by this method right up to the end of the war, whilst I didn't understand it all, it was expected that we remember what was taught by rote and then when we gradually approached or reached maturity we should be ready to eventually,comprehend the subject! Of course, this presumes, to my mind, that we are on a learning course in religion, throughout the first half , or so, of our years? I was encouraged to read and ask questions , now the whole atmosphere of teaching Christianity has changed, comprehension in religion, or the wider, cultural subjects is not sought for ,again, what is sought after is the ability to earn money and prestige and to stand for the truth of Christ Revelation isn't encouraged and it is palliatives that are sought for to question lively minds.!


    What other alternative do you have for teaching Christianity to young children thanthe present one?



    thanks
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
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  13. Mark

    Mark Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Roly,

    We are not trying to create 3 or 4 year old theologians. Nor to have them understand as C.S. Lewis did. We are getting them familiar with
    the verses, subjects, topic to "prime" the fields of their souls for the truth. Planting seeds that hopefully will grow into mature faith and understanding.

    Why do you think people who want to change culture go after the pre-schoolers? To influence them. Do you think they understand two mommies or two
    daddies? No. They get use to it and it become "natural". Same with God. Did I, or my kids and prayfully one day my grandchild, understand God at a
    young age? No. I did not truly understand completely Psalm 23 until my early 40's after reading a book by a former shepherd turned pastor. As I
    matured understanding grew.

    We are told in Proverbs 22:6 to "train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it". As children and adults we
    do not always understand at first. Children may not understand the theological concepts behind a verse, teaching or doctrine. But they will know
    God created them, Christ loves them and the Holy Spirit guides them. Not with logic but the faith of a child, as Christ tells us to have. I experience
    USMC boot camp ie Office Candidate School. I thought I understood why they treated me the way they did. Thought my Senior Drill Instructor
    was a spawn from the lower pits of hell. Was not until after my first action as a platoon commander understanding hit me.

    I am a priest, if anyone says they understand God........they truly do not understand God, but an image of a false god.
     
  14. Cranmer's Crosier

    Cranmer's Crosier Member Anglican

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    What better words than the Athanasian creed by which to teach children? If we attempt to use analogies for the sake of comprehension we necessarily will speak something untrue about God (ie God is like water, ice, and vapor teaches modalism not the Trinity) Children should grow up into the words as they ponder the glorious riches of their God, not settle for something less that may not articulate truth or inadvertently obscure another facet of theology.
     
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  15. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    My dear friend in faith, I looked at that and smiled for the memories. When I was in Papua New Guinea on a Mission School the habit on High Days and Holy was that the 400 or so students would recite the aforementioned Athanasian Creed, however we were rather less in prayer books than required so the headmaster would read one line, and 42o children struggling with English would repeat it.

    ... God the Father, incomprehensible - God the Father, incomprehensible
    God the Son, incomprehensible - God the Son, incomprehensible
    God the Holy Ghost, incomprehensible - God the Holy Ghost, incomprehensible -
    Yet not three incomprehensibles but one incomprehensible - Yet not three incomprehensibles but one incomprehensible

    Papuans struggled with saying the word incomprehensible at the best of times, and the Headmaster clearly was reflecting on this as the students rumbled though the last 'imcontinecabull' and sadly enunciated his reflection

    and the wholly bally thing incomprehensible - which was resoundingly returned.

    As I recall it it was the last time we rehearsed the Athanasian Creed in the School.

    Your will be done seems to make consistent sense of the meaning of the word will. I think teaching the Lords Prayer as something to recite is of great value, but also of great value is to spend time talking to children about what it means. I attended a a service in Westminster a couple of year ago and a Canon in residence delivered a fabulous sermon on prayer that I wished I had heard 50 years before.
     
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  16. Roly

    Roly New Member

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    Thanks for your replies folks.

    Is it fair to conclude that the general consensus here is that children are not capable of understanding that a word can have more than one meaning depending on context?
    If I am mistaken, why aren't measures taken to ensure that children understand that "will" doesn't always mean ..as an example "will you please clean up your room?" No such measures were taken when I was indoctrinated.
    Does anyone here believe that it's in the best interest of the church to teach children to memorise and repeat sentences knowing full well that the kids don't know what they are saying? If yes...why. If no...what are you doing about it?

    Kids are smart. Give them half a chance, and they will understand. Kids are also innocent and trusting, they can easily be mislead.

    thanks folks
     
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  17. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Yes according to the consensus in this thread and indeed very obvious. Young children when catechized may hear words which they don't understand or see the full meanings of.

    We have already addressed this. It is good for children to memorize sentences which they don't know full meanings of because when they come to the age of reason, the essential concepts of Christianity will have been already memorized by them. Thereupon the only task left will be to explain them.

    Barring this step if we skip all catechizing at a young age, and leave all instruction to after the age of reason, they will have to memorize AND you will have to explain. You will have doubled the work they need to do, and the prior 7-10 years of their life you will have let them waste, likely playing video games, i.e. even further distancing them from our Lord.

    There is no downside to start occupying the thoughts of children with theology from the earliest age, and all of the upsides to do so.
     
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  18. highchurchman

    highchurchman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I agree wholeheartedly with the above .
    Good luck and all the best!
     
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  19. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Another factor is that if we catechise children at a reading age of say 4, then we may well find that the next generation of Anglicans has a faith that does not move far from 4, and that is unlikely to sustain them. Whilst I don't support teaching seven years old the Athanaisan Creed, nor explaing the nuances about arianism and sabellianism, not to mention the filioque controversy, I do see real value in us all saying together the prayer Our Lord has taught us.
     
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  20. Roly

    Roly New Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts folks.

    Roly
     
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