Now there’s a book that will help youngsters build a belief system — and it’s a good refresher course for adults, too.
In “Images of God for Young Children,” author Marie-Helene Delval offers dozens of ways to discover God in the world, from simple ideas like breath and light which we can’t see but know are real, to more concrete concepts like justice and covenant.
“God is a path” and “God is a promise” and “God is a mystery” are just some of the mind-pictures Delval’s words make us imagine. Illustrations by Barbara Nascimbeni have the child-like feel that will help young minds better grasp the ideas.
Adults will hear snatches of Holy Scripture in a number of places, and that’s because the Bible is the base for the teaching within the text.
It’s a text that’s not difficult but yet not simple either. The suggested target is ages 4 through 9, but that may be a stretch for the lower end of that group. You’d have to go with the it’s-never-too-young-to-start approach and not expect instant understanding from a preschooler, not so much for the vocabulary but for the concepts of God as, well, beauty, for one, or majesty.
Those of school age, though, are going to easily pick up on just about all the many images of God because Delval takes examples children in elementary school already know of. Take this excerpt:
God is justice.
Before judging others, we should see, know, and understand who they are, and why they did or did not do something. “We should ‘walk a mile in their shoes,’ as the proverb says….
A tip: Don’t try to read the book in one sitting. For younger ones, a page a day is plenty. Older children will be good for three to five pages at a crack. — bz