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Teach Your Children Well - But How?


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The Joyful Path Curriculum for Children 6-10 yrs Unit 8 Lesson 6

The theme is LIFELONG LEARNING>> Lesson 6: Developing an Inner Life


The important thing to remember is

that if we want to continue to feel close to our spiritual
nature, or to feel connected to God within us, we need
to allow some time in our life to quiet the mind and
the heart and go inward, where that connection is


The exercise in this lesson might be called Centering Prayer or an introduction to breath centered meditation.


I am looking at curricula used by various denominations in Helena, Montana because, a few years from now, we will be "allowed" to take our grand-daughter to Sunday school so which church we choose depends not only on my needs but on her potential needs.


This may be a short thread but a few questions come to mind.


1. Would you be part of a congregation just so your children could attend Sunday School?


2. What is important in Sunday School Curriculum?


3. Is this lesson appropriate? Should it be taught that meditation, a time of quiet spiritual practice, is necessary or recommended?


My answers

1. Yes

2. That it draws from many wisdom and sacred traditions and centered around Hebrew texts and the New Testament. I would like to avoid the idea being a Christian but being a follower of Jesus.

3. Yes


(My first impression of the UU curriculum is positive also but my concern would be whether it supports a child being centered in one tradition will learning from many spiritual traditions)




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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not much help Dutch, I've run a million miles from organised Christianity and it sends a chill down my back to think of sending my children back into the lion's den! :)


I know that's not your intention but for me personally, I'd rather keep my highly-influenced children away from any spirituality unless the seek it/find it for themselves.

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  • 1 year later...

I teach my Sunday school from The Joyful Path curriculum, so I'd thought I'd chime in:


It uses many different folktales, stories, religious stories from different traditions, stories of real life people and bible stories. It includes bible verses in the teacher section (each lesson also includes things for the teacher to consider and try to prepare for the lesson) which I occasionally share with the class, though we've gone through classes where we don't really talk about God or Jesus at all. We're nearing the end of the year 2 book, and I don't think there's a single lesson I've taught that didn't have something valuable and wonderful in it that children need to be taught. The overall lesson is to be a thoughtful, loving person and to find value in all things (if I had to mash it into one sentence).


It's light on the bible stories, even on the Gospel stories. I worry that the children I'm teaching, while learning lots of things about being responsible, loving people with open minds, aren't learning a whole lot about what being 'christian' might actually mean to them, or how to 'handle' the bible and it's contradictions (which is really more appropriate to a youth class, anyway, but we don't have one at my church). But the bible based curriculum I was using before did even worse at that than this one.


And to answer the official curriculum:


1. I attend church anyway, but if I didn't I would want to be in charge of the message my kid was getting to exposed to about Christianity, and wouldn't go to church for the sole purpose of them getting a religious education. Though if they wanted to attend sunday school (as a kid I loved sunday school and would cry if we didn't go to chruch) I'd take them. But only if I knew that none of my basic ideals were being contradicted, and I'd be sure to keep discussions open at home so I could guide their learning.


2. This is a teacher's perspective, but I really prefer when the curriculum opens up discussion and gets kids asking questions. That it's not so caught up in teaching bible stories that it forgets that it should be teaching spiritual truths and tools for living life in a meaningful and respectful way. That it makes sense (I realised our last curriculum wasn't doing this when a kid asked me 'why are we making kites?' (the story was lazarus) and my answer was 'I actually have no idea').


3. Yes. A curriculum that gives kids many 'tools' for nurturing their spirituality is a good one in my books. I don't expect all my students will go away and make meditation a part of their lives, but knowing what it is and why it can be useful is something that could help them when they enter the adult world.

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How to teach your children:

  1. Teach them to be evidenced based.
  2. To critically review the evidence.
  3. If necessary come to a hypothesis.
  4. Review if the hypothesis agrees with the existing evidence.
  5. Review what predictions the hypothesis might make see if new evidence agrees with the hypothesis.
  6. If it does not go back to point three and make a new hypothesis.
  7. If it does agree look for new predictions and go back to point five.
  8. Be aware at some point that your hypothesis might become your worldview.
  9. Be aware that your worldview might be useful but it could be subject to falsification with new evidence.
  10. Tread lightly.
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