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Author Topic: Teaching Orthodoxy to a 8 year old  (Read 898 times) Average Rating: 0
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Hamartolos
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« on: September 23, 2010, 10:33:27 AM »

My 8 year old nephew comes to Liturgy with me every Sunday and enjoys going (much more so than my 6 year old nephew!  Grin)  He also loves going to Sunday School.  However, he doesn't come from a very religious background although he did make first communion in the Catholic Church.  Therefore, there is a lot he does not know about Orthodoxy, or Christianity in general. 

My thought was that I would sit and teach him things and then test him once a week.  Any suggestions on how I do this?  It's difficult to think like an 8 year old!  What exactly should I start with and how should I do it?  I would really appreciate any and all suggestions. 

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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2010, 11:15:42 AM »

I would start by answering his questions. It might be counter-productive for you to create a curriculum, if I can put it in those terms. If he hesitates to ask specific questions, you might prompt him by asking something like, "What do you notice that's different about this Church than others you have been in?" or, pointing to an icon, "Do you know who that is?/what story is being told here?" Keep it simple and don't rush him. One tiny lesson on each visit will avoid overwhelming him and is more likely to increase his comfort level to open up more. Much the same advice I would give in regards to an adult.
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2010, 11:21:05 AM »

Do you intend to convert him? Don't his parents oppose?
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2010, 12:36:51 PM »

Given the situation, I'd ask what he likes and what he would like to know. Does he have any questions.

How is it that he comes with you to Church every Sunday?  If that continues, I would just point out what is going on, what things mean, etc. and on the way home ask if he remembers anything from the sermon.
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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2010, 02:31:37 PM »

Get a strong magnet. Tell him to imagine it is God. Show him there is an 'energy' around it.

Then get some pieces of metal. Maybe some keys or coins. Tell him they are us, the people. Far from God (the magnet) they are just there standing, not moving.

The bring the magnet near the pieces of metal but don't let them stick to the magnet. Some will stand up, all will more or less follow the magnet. These are the "followers of Christ". His students in childspeak. He gives them strength and life. They can do many things they couldn't without Him but they are still not totally with Him. These are, basically, all the people in other churches.

Now, let some of the pieces stick to the magnet. Now, not only they are as close as it is possible to be to "God", without becoming Him, but, if you let another piece metal that is separated to get near the piece of metal that is "soaked" with the energy of the magnet, they'll stick to each other. This is communion in the energy of God. The first piece of metal is a saint, and the second piece is a person praying to the saint. The energy comes from the magnet, not from the piece of metal. It's the magnet's energy, always. And (you move the second piece to stick directly to the magnet), the objective is that we all get together with God. And that in this way we become like Him with the same "powers".

Show also that the magnet doesn't move everything. Paper, wood, are not affected. That is not because the "power" of the magnet is not there, it is because these things are not of the right "stuff". When we are baptized God changes us from "paper" to "metal". But if we don't come close to Him, we don't acquire His "power". When we are chrysmated, we become pure metal, and when we confess we take the dirt out. When we go to Communion we reshine the metal and priests are guys who help putting small pieces of the magnet in the metal pieces.

You can and should improvise with these materials. Maybe, making faces on the magnet and pieces of metal or something like it. Use it as a little theater. The kid's imagination will do the rest. And you will have seeded his imagination with a sound analogy that will give itself easily to be deepened later in life.
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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2010, 03:33:47 PM »

Fabio; that is a great analogy to use!
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2010, 04:19:42 PM »

My 8 year old nephew comes to Liturgy with me every Sunday and enjoys going (much more so than my 6 year old nephew!  Grin)  He also loves going to Sunday School.  However, he doesn't come from a very religious background although he did make first communion in the Catholic Church.  Therefore, there is a lot he does not know about Orthodoxy, or Christianity in general. 

My thought was that I would sit and teach him things and then test him once a week.  Any suggestions on how I do this?  It's difficult to think like an 8 year old!  What exactly should I start with and how should I do it?  I would really appreciate any and all suggestions. 



Definitely don't test him - talk about a turn off to Christianity!  Shocked  Let his learning be organic first.  Exposure at that age is a wonderful way to learn.   Let him absorb Orthodoxy within the context of the services.  Don't worry, soon he'll start to ask questions.  If you don't know the answer to them there are some nice books that help introduce children to Orthodoxy... "Let's Take a Walk Through the Orthodox Church" by Fr. A. Coniaris is a nice one for kids.  Your parish probably has it in their library (if they have one). 

When one my kids had been coming with me for about 6 months she said to me on the way home one Sunday, "In Protestant churches the important thing is the sermon, but in the Orthodox church the most important thing is communion."   I don't recall ever actually *telling* her that - she picked it up by being in the services. 
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2010, 03:02:54 AM »

Let him keep coming and if he asks a question simply answer it.
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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2010, 11:15:21 AM »

The best thing, I think, is to try oneself to live a holy, Orthodox life. Be a Christian, not worldly. And your nephew and others will see the difference. The example of your life must be genuinely Orthodox. If it's not, all the talk in the world will be useless. Your nephew loves church and Sunday school for two reasons--it is the natural disposition of man to seek after God, and he is hungry for this. For now, he has you and your example to learn from. It is very important and will make an impression on him later when he is confronted by other choices in life.
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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2010, 10:49:44 AM »

Don't test him - testing too often destroys a love of learning. Instead encourage his curiousity and his questions. Keep it simple.
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2010, 04:28:44 AM »

1 class  per week ……. Hard task.
God help….

Modern world may eat kid alive.
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