GOD, AS SEEN THROUGH CHILDREN'S CURIOUS EYES.Byline: Jennifer Packer packer /pack·er/ (pak´er) an instrument for introducing a dressing into a cavity or a wound.
1. An instrument for tamponing.
2. See plugger. Fort Worth Star-Telegram The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is a major U.S. daily newspaper serving Fort Worth and the western half of the North Texas area known as the Metroplex. Its area of domination is checked by its main rival, The Dallas Morning News
Eight-year-old Theresa, a Coptic Christian, prays to stave off Jesus' anger and to please her parents.
Omair, 16 and Muslim, prays to receive "more rewards from Allah."
Alex, a 13-year-old Catholic, is convinced that kneeling in prayer will help his grandmother recover from a heart attack.
Their reasons are as diverse as their religious backgrounds and beliefs, but children share the hope of prayer, the conviction that their thoughts and actions will make a difference to the world. For many, prayer is a ritual that shapes their days, their home lives, even time at play.
"Since time immemorial time immemorial
n. pl. times immemorial
1. Time long past, beyond memory or record. Also called time out of mind.
2. Law Time antedating legal records.
Noun 1. , we have always had a sense and desire for consolation and a sense of belonging," said Nicholas Van Dyck, president of Religion in American Life of Princeton, N.J., and a Presbyterian minister. "When we are hungry, we get food; when we are filled with joy or sadness, then we pray."
There are no formal surveys of children's prayer habits, said David Elkind, a Tufts University Tufts University, main campus at Medford, Mass.; coeducational; chartered 1852 by Universalists as a college for men. It became a university in 1955. Jackson College, formerly a coordinate undergraduate college for women, merged with the College of Liberal Arts in professor who has studied the origin of religion in children. But many experts on religion say children mirror adults.
Nearly 90 percent of the adult respondents to a 1993 Life magazine survey said they pray, and 95 percent of those said their prayers had been answered.
The Life poll found that 21 percent of the respondents pray three times a day or more; 9 percent said they pray several times a week; and 3 percent said they pray continually. Ten percent pray in a house of worship Noun 1. house of worship - any building where congregations gather for prayer
house of God, house of prayer, place of worship
bethel - a house of worship (especially one for sailors) ; 2 percent pray at mealtime; and 34 percent pray at bedside or in bed. Five percent said they pray while commuting.
Eighty-seven percent said they pray alone.
Children pray for the same reasons as adults, experts say, although adults tend to be wordier and more self-conscious.
"There's a certain naturalness when children pray," said Elizabeth Espersen, executive director of the North American Interfaith Network The North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) is a non-profit association of Interfaith organizations and agencies in Canada, Mexico and the United States.
NAIN's programs seek to build communication and mutual understanding among interfaith organizations and diverse in Dallas. "They don't question whether they look silly, they just do it."
Over the past eight months, children shared their understanding of spirituality and religion with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. They may not know it, but children at prayer have something to teach adults.
"Children can teach adults a sense of wonder," Van Dyck said. "They can teach adults what it is to be gratefully dependent on God for all that we need ... as well as a sense of belonging in the universe."
If they pay attention, adults can relearn Verb 1. relearn - learn something again, as after having forgotten or neglected it; "After the accident, he could not walk for months and had to relearn how to walk down stairs" from children a sense of awe for God and for the world, Espersen said.
"They are still open to mystery, and so they are open to God," she said.
That's certainly the case with Mandy DuPriest, who attends Fort Worth's First United Methodist Church First United Methodist Church is a common name for the first United Methodist church established in a particular locality. Many First United Methodist Churches exist around the world. and says she has a direct line with God.
"I think there are tiny little holes in the walls with little pipes, and the pipes go up to God so he can hear your prayers," Mandy said. "Sometimes he has to put his hand over one, because somebody else is praying right then and he's busy listening to them."
Children's first and most lasting views of God are shaped by their parents and, in some cases, religious leaders such as priests, pastors, rabbis and imams. The frequency and content of their prayers, and even the way they pray, often is a mimicry mimicry, in biology, the advantageous resemblance of one species to another, often unrelated, species or to a feature of its own environment. (When the latter results from pigmentation it is classed as protective coloration. of their parents.
"Most children believe God is a friend who cares about them and is usually an extension in their imagination of the most loving kind of parent they can dream up," Van Dyck said. "It's not surprising that ... parents influence kids very strongly. We do tend to pay attention to the people we know and live with. We get a sense of what is important to them and internalize internalize
To send a customer order from a brokerage firm to the firm's own specialist or market maker. Internalizing an order allows a broker to share in the profit (spread between the bid and ask) of executing the order. it."
To help children shape their own view of God, Hazel Morris, associate professor of childhood education at Fort Worth's Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, is a private, non-profit institution of higher education, associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, whose stated mission is "to provide theological education for individuals engaging in Christian , recommends that parents and other adults try to be open and nonjudgmental non·judg·men·tal
Refraining from judgment, especially one based on personal ethical standards.
Adj. 1. nonjudgmental when they discuss religion. Most of all, Morris says, parents need to listen to their children.
"I think adults think we have to have a 'right' answer for the child," Morris said, when in reality, parents are better off encouraging children to lose themselves in their own questions and wonderment. "We tend to put our words into the mouths of children instead of asking to hear their words."
The image of an all-powerful God, one who dispenses discipline and rewards, also is common, says Morris, who teaches religion to second-graders at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth.
"Children want to please adults," Morris said, and to a certain extent, children view God as an ultra-powerful parent. When religiously observant ob·ser·vant
1. Quick to perceive or apprehend; alert: an observant traveler. See Synonyms at careful.
2. children do wrong, Morris says, they may say they're "breaking God's rules."
Until children reach 10 or 11, modern psychology has found that their visions of God tend more toward the concrete, often colored by biblical pictures and paintings they have seen. Once in their teens, their images are of a more intangible God.
"Older children ... focus more on God's (spiritual) attributes," Morris said.