Author Topic: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized  (Read 750 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline LizaSymonenko

  • Слава Ісусу Христу!!! Glory to Jesus Christ!!!
  • Global Moderator
  • Toumarches
  • ******
  • Posts: 13,903
    • St.Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A.
What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« on: September 12, 2013, 04:49:22 PM »

I've been asked to help prepare a 9 year old boy to be baptized.  His parents come to my church, but, I've never seen the boy.

The parents have decided it is time to have him baptized.  We've had a couple kids who were baptized as Greek Catholics, but this child has not been baptized, at all.

I have a general outline of what I think I should cover with him, but, I'd like your input.  What do you think a 9 year old should know, and can grasp about Orthodoxy?  This is way different than preparing an adult.  You don't want to overwhelm him, and yet, you want him to know Christ, learn to love Him, and wish to follow Him.

Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

  • Partisan Pro-Chalcedonian Fanatic
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 5,081
  • St. John the Merciful
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2013, 05:10:10 PM »
Love, the most important thing, the Holy Trinity, the Saints, the Sign of the Cross, the Christ and the Holy Eucharist, very very important.

Quote
"1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. ...

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:1-10, 13)
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 05:14:48 PM by xOrthodox4Christx »
Not everything I type or have typed in the past is reflective of the teaching of the Orthodox Church, or may not reflect my contemporary views on a subject. (4/6/2015)

Glory to Jesus Christ!

قدوس لله قدوس القوي قدوس الذي لا يموت ارحمنا

Offline genesisone

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,630
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antioch
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2013, 07:06:23 PM »
I do have answers, but must get these questions out there: are the boy's parents Orthodox? has the boy been attending services? These certainly play a role in determining what catechism is needed at this point.

Offline mike

  • The Jerk
  • Stratopedarches
  • **************
  • Posts: 22,098
  • Scarecrow is watching you
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Makurian Orthodox
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2013, 07:09:12 PM »
This situation is weird at least.

Offline LizaSymonenko

  • Слава Ісусу Христу!!! Glory to Jesus Christ!!!
  • Global Moderator
  • Toumarches
  • ******
  • Posts: 13,903
    • St.Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A.
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2013, 07:23:42 PM »
I do have answers, but must get these questions out there: are the boy's parents Orthodox? has the boy been attending services? These certainly play a role in determining what catechism is needed at this point.

I've never met the boy.  Yes, the parents are both Orthodox and have attended Liturgy at my parish.  I don't know if the boy goes to church.  I've never seen him at mine, but, that doesn't mean he doesn't go elsewhere.  Remember, we have the whole Ukrainian Ecumenical Patriarchate vs. KP thing going, and we do have a KP parish located nearer to where most of the new immigrants have settled.

When I asked the father about the the boy's level of understanding, he stated that he does have a baba (grandmother) who has taught him a few things.  If she's a baba worth her salt, then I am hoping she's taught him a lot, as most kids with a stay-at-home baba, learn more from them than their parents.  

This situation is weird at least.

Yes, I know.  Nonetheless, it is the situation.....and I want to make the most of this opportunity.  For, it is an opportunity to reach a young soul.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 07:25:05 PM by LizaSymonenko »
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria

Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

  • "SERVANT of The HOLY SPIRIT"
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,776
  • "Lord Have Mercy on Me a Sinner!"
    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1456515775
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2013, 07:28:10 PM »
I would certainly teach him the Nicene Creed, and use the Creed to explain the essential tenets of our Faith.


Selam
"There are two great tragedies: one is to live a life ruled by the passions, and the other is to live a passionless life."
Selam, +GMK+

Offline mike

  • The Jerk
  • Stratopedarches
  • **************
  • Posts: 22,098
  • Scarecrow is watching you
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Makurian Orthodox
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2013, 07:29:58 PM »
I would certainly teach him the Nicene Creed, and use the Creed to explain the essential tenets of our Faith.

9-year old? Quite harsh.

Offline LBK

  • No Reporting Allowed
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 12,247
  • Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!
  • Faith: Orthodox
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2013, 07:49:28 PM »
I would certainly teach him the Nicene Creed, and use the Creed to explain the essential tenets of our Faith.

9-year old? Quite harsh.

Harsh? Gimme a break.
No longer posting here. Anyone is welcome to PM me or email me at the address in my profile.

Offline genesisone

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,630
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antioch
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2013, 08:42:28 PM »
I would certainly teach him the Nicene Creed, and use the Creed to explain the essential tenets of our Faith.

9-year old? Quite harsh.

Harsh? Gimme a break.
Definitely agree with LBK. A nine year old can memorize the Creed. The suggestion is not to undertake a seminary course in theology, but to use the Creed as a starting point for discussion at the child's level. Liza has plenty of experience working with kids. I don't doubt her ability to speak their language.

Offline Faith2545

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 386
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2013, 08:51:54 PM »
At 9 years old, I would think he would be old enough to understand a few things - I would start with crossing ourselves - what bringing together the first three fingers mean, how we should cross ourselves and when. Church behavior: why we stand, bow, cross ourselves, or even why we don't talk in church. Get him to know his patron Saint. Begin prayer/communication with God before bed, a meal, a 'tough' situation. Maybe talk to his parents about attending Sunday school.

Offline Martyr Eugenia

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 75
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2013, 09:01:24 PM »
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE FAITH OF A NINE YEAR OLD, how about letting him know EXACTLY what he is embarking on, open the mysteries up to him. Give him St. Cyril of Jerusalem's lecture on baptism.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf207.ii.vii.html


Offline Mor Ephrem

  • The Fourteenth Apostle and Judge of the Interwebs
  • Moderator
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 21,039
  • Christ is risen!
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2013, 10:10:53 PM »
I've never catechised children before, but here's my recommendation (these aren't in any particular order).  Teach the basic prayers (e.g., the Sign of the Cross, the Trisagion, the Lord's Prayer) and what they mean, so that the child has some basic prayers to pray and ideas about prayer to build upon.  Teach the Creed: both memorisation and also a basic review of its tenets.  Nine years old is young, but it's not five.  Teach the Ten Commandments as a basic way of life.  And teach a bit about the sacraments the child is about to receive. 

If you can do all of that, I'd say that's pretty good, but even managing a part of this will be just fine: we don't catechise babies, after all, we teach them everything post-baptism.  As long as the child and his parents come to church regularly and participate normally, and hopefully also do some things in the home, it should be fine. 

Oh, and toll houses. 
"Do not tempt the Mor thy Mod."

Mor no longer posts on OCNet.  He follows threads, posts his responses daily, occasionally starts threads, and responds to private messages when and as he wants.  But he really isn't around anymore.


Offline LizaSymonenko

  • Слава Ісусу Христу!!! Glory to Jesus Christ!!!
  • Global Moderator
  • Toumarches
  • ******
  • Posts: 13,903
    • St.Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A.
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2013, 10:40:46 PM »

LOL!  I think I will begin with the toll houses!  :angel:
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria

Offline Justin Kissel

  • •|•|•
  • Protospatharios
  • ****************
  • Posts: 31,761
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2013, 10:49:04 PM »
Finally! someone can make the toll house cookie joke and it will be relevant.  8)

Fwiw kids seem to do well with visual aids, so maybe icons can be used to good effect.
"My doubt in Christ is not like that of a child; it was forged in a furnace of faith." - Dostoevsky

Offline zekarja

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 747
  • O Holy Prophet Zechariah, intercede to God for us!
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2013, 11:48:13 AM »
The importance of the Mystery of Repentance for sins after Baptism would also be good to teach. :)
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 11:48:39 AM by zekarja »

Offline Shanghaiski

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,978
  • Holy Trinity Church of Gergeti, Georgia
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2013, 12:12:05 PM »
I'm having trouble understanding that the parents are Orthodox, but have waited nine years to baptize their child. Really?

This and the issue that the poor boy may have never set foot in church before gives me cause for concern. Is the priest involved or has he delegated it?

Since you appear to be dealing with a lot of unknowns, I would say, since you've asked, that "what" he knows is nowhere near as important as "who" he knows. Does he know Jesus--not about him as an abstraction, but has he been to church? Has he ever prayed to God? What does he himself know?

Once you find that out, you can go from there.

Knowing dogma is secondary. Knowledge of dogma is a support for faith and love, which are fostered through going to church, prayer, him seeing what others are doing and asking questions.

And, what do the parents know? Who will his godfather be? What does he know? How willing are the parents to have his godfather involved?

When I was nine years old, I knew a couple prayers, but more than that I knew the general flow and feeling of the services. I knew a lot of Bible stories. I loved God and church and singing hymns. But all this happened organically. I learned from home, from Sunday school, and from attending church with my grandmother and her friends.
Quote from: GabrieltheCelt
If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
Quote from: orthonorm
I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.

Offline zekarja

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 747
  • O Holy Prophet Zechariah, intercede to God for us!
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2013, 12:30:51 PM »
I'm having trouble understanding that the parents are Orthodox, but have waited nine years to baptize their child. Really?

I knew a family at an Antiochian Orthodox parish that had a ten year-old boy and an eight year-old girl and neither were baptized. Their father said that their grandmother (who is sick and frail) had to be present for the baptism but she lived across the country. He did not have the money to fly his family to her for the baptism, therefore, he would not allow them to be baptized. :-[

Oddly enough, the non-baptized boy altar-served at the parish.  :o

Offline LizaSymonenko

  • Слава Ісусу Христу!!! Glory to Jesus Christ!!!
  • Global Moderator
  • Toumarches
  • ******
  • Posts: 13,903
    • St.Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A.
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2013, 12:33:30 PM »
I'm having trouble understanding that the parents are Orthodox, but have waited nine years to baptize their child. Really?

This and the issue that the poor boy may have never set foot in church before gives me cause for concern. Is the priest involved or has he delegated it?

Since you appear to be dealing with a lot of unknowns, I would say, since you've asked, that "what" he knows is nowhere near as important as "who" he knows. Does he know Jesus--not about him as an abstraction, but has he been to church? Has he ever prayed to God? What does he himself know?

Once you find that out, you can go from there.

Knowing dogma is secondary. Knowledge of dogma is a support for faith and love, which are fostered through going to church, prayer, him seeing what others are doing and asking questions.

And, what do the parents know? Who will his godfather be? What does he know? How willing are the parents to have his godfather involved?

When I was nine years old, I knew a couple prayers, but more than that I knew the general flow and feeling of the services. I knew a lot of Bible stories. I loved God and church and singing hymns. But all this happened organically. I learned from home, from Sunday school, and from attending church with my grandmother and her friends.

Yes, all you say is true.

I will know more when I meet him on Sunday....but, since I don't know what to expect, I need to be doubly prepared, no matter if he already "knows" some or if I am starting from scratch.

Not to mention that this is the first weekend that the church school starts up, and I have four separate age groups to be teaching, I have much to prepare for this weekend!  :D

Oddly enough, the non-baptized boy altar-served at the parish.  :o

Yikes!
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria

Offline jah777

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,065
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2013, 01:35:13 PM »

LOL!  I think I will begin with the toll houses!  :angel:

Make sure he thoroughly understands the implications of shifting the Julian calendar by 13 days and has read the Rudder from cover to cover before being baptized.   :D

I have a 9 yr old girl, but every child is different in what they are able to grasp, and a 9 yr old raised in the Church will comprehend a lot more than a 9 yr old who has not been raised in the Church.  At nine, a child can understand a lot.  They can begin saying morning and evening prayers according to the "Children's Prayer book":

http://store.holycross-hermitage.com/catalog/books/childrens-books/childrens-orthodox-prayer-book

This prayer book, if you aren't already familiar with it, has prayers on the right side of the book and explanations on the left.  You can even go over the prayers with him and explain the meaning of some of the terms used, why prayer is important, and what the significance is of the prayers.

You can go through the visual catechism by Met. Hierotheos that has very brief explanations with a lot of iconographic depictions:

http://www.amazon.com/A-Visual-Catechism-Orthodox-Church/dp/9607070429

He can read, or you can read with him and discuss, the Children's Bible Reader:

http://www.orthodoxmarketplace.com/childrens-products/childrens-bible-reader-english-edition.html

I just found this GOARCH activity site that he may enjoy at his age:

http://cbr.goarch.org/

Offline Ionnis

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,077
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2013, 01:44:14 PM »
You can go through the visual catechism by Met. Hierotheos that has very brief explanations with a lot of iconographic depictions:
http://www.amazon.com/A-Visual-Catechism-Orthodox-Church/dp/9607070429

Here is a link for new copies of the Visual Catechism.  I think it is a good choice.

http://thaborian.com/bookstore_121113_13.html
"If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the church door, you will not find Him in the chalice.”  -The Divine John Chrysostom

“Till we can become divine, we must be content to be human, lest in our hurry for change we sink to something lower.” -Anthony Trollope

Offline Arachne

  • Trinary Unit || Resident Bossy Boots
  • Section Moderator
  • Protokentarchos
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,449
  • Off to see the wizard!
  • Faith: Cradle Greek Orthodox. Cope.
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian Archdiocese, UK
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2013, 02:02:01 PM »
I would certainly teach him the Nicene Creed, and use the Creed to explain the essential tenets of our Faith.

9-year old? Quite harsh.

Harsh? Gimme a break.
Definitely agree with LBK. A nine year old can memorize the Creed. The suggestion is not to undertake a seminary course in theology, but to use the Creed as a starting point for discussion at the child's level. Liza has plenty of experience working with kids. I don't doubt her ability to speak their language.

+1. I had memorised the Creed at 9. In Koine Greek, which is quite off everyday language for a kid, so this one at least has an advantage. ;)
'When you live your path all the time, you end up with both more path and more time.'~Venecia Rauls

Blog ~ Bookshelf ~ Jukebox

Offline Nikolaos Greek

  • Last among equals
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 203
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2013, 02:52:11 PM »
Well... Good job I wish to do with the child. It is a big responsibility. Prayer, fight against sins, reading Cristian books, advancing in good are the absics I think of Christianity.
God is Love.
Ό Θεός ἀγάπη ἐστί.
There is no luck, there is no fate. There are always two ways. One is God's and one is devil's. And in each step of your life you have to pick one, always.

Offline arnI

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 163
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA Metropolis of New Jersey
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2013, 03:15:48 PM »
What better way is there to demonstrate love than by providing him some delicious candy along with Orthodox instruction. The kids at our parish like Dum-Dums (the lollipop).
Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother

Offline podkarpatska

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,234
  • Pokrov
    • ACROD (home)
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2013, 03:20:57 PM »

LOL!  I think I will begin with the toll houses!  :angel:

Kids love them with milk.

Offline podkarpatska

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,234
  • Pokrov
    • ACROD (home)
Re: What should a 9 year old know before being baptized
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2013, 03:22:34 PM »
I would certainly teach him the Nicene Creed, and use the Creed to explain the essential tenets of our Faith.

9-year old? Quite harsh.

Harsh? Gimme a break.
Definitely agree with LBK. A nine year old can memorize the Creed. The suggestion is not to undertake a seminary course in theology, but to use the Creed as a starting point for discussion at the child's level. Liza has plenty of experience working with kids. I don't doubt her ability to speak their language.

+1. I had memorised the Creed at 9. In Koine Greek, which is quite off everyday language for a kid, so this one at least has an advantage. ;)


And I memorized it in Church Slavonic.  Not that I remember it without a book fifty years later.....