This is from our “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Explained” series written for our September 2019 Parish Newsletter by Laura Nelson, Coordinator of Children’s Catechesis.
Parents love it when their children make things for them to see. A card, a picture, schoolwork that they can talk about…it’s all welcome to a mom or dad. In the CGS Atrium the children often create things. And just as often, they don’t. Does it mean they aren’t learning when their hands aren’t full of papers after Atrium? Of course not. They’re still learning and growing in their relationship with God. In fact, kids can get so used to the “production mentality” (“I have to use my time to produce things to show my parents.”) that they don’t allow themselves to enter into deeper meditation on the Word of God.
I’m just like the children, though. Sometimes, my brain wants to express itself with art or other written or created pieces. Other times, I keep my hands busy because my brain is too tired or distracted to concentrate on bigger thoughts. It’s not until someone comments on my fidgety movements that I recognize the need to slow down and breathe.
In the Atrium, we give the children the space, time, and encouragement to slow down to breathe and think about God. Often the most beautiful growth that comes from their time in the space doesn’t have any stuff to demonstrate their learning. Their deeper love for God, their understanding of a particular Scripture passage, their desire to be with Him, often doesn’t have physical evidence that goes with it. But the growth is real and is deep. After all, years from now, you may or may not have that piece of artwork they created, but they’ll still have their relationship with God.