In “Part 1: Unexpected Theology,” I described conversations I’ve had with children and their ideas and beliefs about God. What I found is that Children have many of the same questions as adults about God.
Children are deeply spiritual beings at the beginning of life. They want to know: How were we created? What is our purpose? How do we communicate with God?
These are basic life questions. The parents of the children that I’ve conversed with have done a remarkable job of providing ways to nurture their understanding of God. In addition to talking with kids about God, I’ve also studied their perspectives through their art. The experiences have been truly enlightening.
Art is a natural way to explore a child’s deep thoughts about God. Over the years of working with kids, I’ve collected a number of examples. Some of them are from my own three children; others from children in our church or other congregations.
1. Our family traveled to Australia. My 14 year old daughter, Lauren, was intrigued by the story of the mistreatment of the aboriginal people and their spiritual beliefs.
When we returned to Texas, the bulletin cover at church on the first week back stated, “Draw a Picture of Jesus.
This prompted her to wonder how the Aboriginal people would draw Jesus.
As you can see it reflects their view of themselves with the tattoos. The discussion after church focused on the different ways that Jesus may come to each of us.
By listening to different viewpoints, we can learn from each other.
2. This 7 year old saw Jesus as very nice and loving.
The hearts show how all-encompassing Jesus love is.
3. A 4 year old drew this picture of Jesus on the Mountain.
Jesus was with the child sliding down the mountain.
Jesus was a friend in this child’s daily life.
My 11 year old son, Ben, drew a maze. He said there are many paths to following Jesus.
The important thing is to find Jesus.
5. A classmate of my 10 year old son Andrew died in a car accident in the 1st grade.
The classmate’s death affected my son deeply; it was still on his mind when he completed this collage 3 years later.
In the artwork, the child who died (at right) is being teleported to heaven. Once there, he has a party hat on because he is with Jesus.
(My son had questions about the literal travel details of getting to heaven and concluded that being with Jesus must be fun!)
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Through the eyes of a child my understanding of God was expanded, simplified, and enriched.