Listening to the child with respect and humility was the foundation of educator Maria Montessori’s work. We invite you to read through these posts from our collection of art, theological comments and prayers of children, and share your own reflections. Considering these responses together may help us deepen our understanding of the mysteries of the child and God.
Listening to the Child
A few weeks after Betty had the lesson on the Hidden Treasure, her catechist overheard her sing this song:
The treasure. The Treasure.
The treasure loves the most.
He probably likes me more than anyone.
He likes me forever.
The Treasure comes to me and you
To show us what we can do.
The treasure comes to me and you
To show us what we can do,
The treasure comes to me and you
To guide us.
The Treasure is mine.
The Treasure is so special.
The Treasure will never die.
The Treasure is ours.
It is very special.
I wonder if the treasure is mine forever.
I wonder if I will learn about the treasure.
I wonder who the treasure is.
I will share and share it and never keep it all for mine.
I am the treasure.
I would not give it up for one dollar or a Pokemon card.
It is treasure!
Some people walk in darkness but they have seen the light.
(Pause) Do you like it? It is a God Song because the treasure is God.
-- Betty, age 4
Becca, age 6 said, "The Holy Spirit comes to me in flowers."
Uri, age 4, had spent some time working with the Good Shepherd work. He took this work and placed it back on the shelf. He then went to the chasubles and placed each one very neatly on their hangers. He came to me to join him in singing the "Color Song". When we were finished he placed his hand on his chest and said "My heart is full when I come here."
After a presentation of the Good Shepherd and the Hirelings, the child, age 6, worked a while with the materials. He said nothing about the materials and restored them after he was done. Later his parent came into the Atrium to pick him up. He immediately began to recount his work with the Good Shepherd to his parent. His revelation was, " Mom, Jesus takes care of the sheep. We are the sheep. He takes care of us. That means we need to take care of each other."
Evan, age 3 asked me if we could see heaven. I told him that we have to get our eyes ready to see it. Then he looked over at the cross on the relief map of Jerusalem and asked if we have to die first. His 4 year old sister Beatrice said, "Well, Jesus is with us everywhere, loving us and forgiving us and he is in heaven, so heaven is right here and even in our homes. We just don't always see it."
After reflecting on the Parables of Growth of the Kingdom, Nicholas, age 7, said, “Heaven is here all of the time.” Julia, age 7, said, “Heaven will grow to cover everything when Parousia comes.” Jolie, age 6, said, “Heaven grows from the good things we do. Heaven helps us remember people we loved who died.”
Lauren, age 6, and Olivia age 6, had been working with the Kingdom of God and the Leaven material. Lauren said, “Leaven is small, like the mustard seed! The mustard seed grows into a big tree. And heaven rises too.” She stood with her arms raised. Olivia said, "Maybe we keep growing in heaven. When the Kingdom is here, things will grow.” I wondered if anything we can’t see will grow, and Olivia responded, “Love.”
For two years, Caleb's family lived in a house near the school he attended, two doors down from his best friend and classmate. He would often spend the weekend at the family ranch about 75 miles away. That spring his father took a job near the ranch. Caleb knew this meant he would have to move with his family to the ranch, leaving his best friend and his school. One summer day, Caleb and his father were working with the grapevines, trimming and pruning. Caleb told his father about the parable of the true vine. Then he said, "Moving is how I am being pruned."
Note: The catechist who first shared the story of the True Vine with Caleb, had shared it at a first solemn communion retreat. During the retreat, she felt the meditations had been less than peaceful. Before Caleb’s mom shared this story with her, she wondered if the children had received anything from the meditations.
A prayer card drawn to represent the "growing time" of Pentecost, drawn by Madeline, age 7. She added the words, "Step by Step you'll lead me and I will follow all of my days." The figure to the left says, "Come," as an angel points the way, saying, "Go."
By Kalvin, age 7.