One of the reasons we run Sanctum is that we believe passionately that young people are naturally spiritual; it’s just that life progressively squeezes it out of them. Children engage naturally and easily with opportunities to be spiritual and to reflect on spiritual things. Young people less so, but it’s still there. But spirituality is not something that people “grow out of”, like belief in Father Christmas, as if it’s a right of passage to adulthood. We know this because of the number of people that become more spiritually aware as adults, one example being the number who become Christians as adults from a totally non-Christian background (like me).
Sanctum (and other expressions of prayer spaces in schools) are about re-awakening the spiritual pulse that beats within children and young people, be it ever so slight. We’re seeking to give young people a glimpse of the connection between the spiritual and their everyday experience. So much of our schools work is simply passing on information about God – our great hope, or vision for a prayer space is that young people experience something of God.
Anyway, all this is by way of preface to a fabulous post by Dave Csinos, among other things a researcher of children’s spirituality, titled Educating out spirituality. He writes:
So, spirituality isn’t something that we achieve—it’s a gift from God that is woven into the very fabric of our innermost being. We can provide opportunities for children and youth to have spirit-to-Spirit connections with the One who gave them the gift of spirituality. Spirituality is something that can change, grow, and form. But it can also wither and fade away. To paraphrase Robinson’s words “We don’t grow into spirituality. We grow out of it. Or rather we get educated out of it.”
The whole post is relevant not just to the work we do in schools, but to the way we help our children and young people to grow in their relationship with God.