In the Gospels we find the community-maker Jesus giving a high priority to children. He emphasized the importance of caring for children; he seemed to bless them at every opportunity; and he saw them as offering a role model for people of all ages.
So if children are already or potentially part of your community’s life it’s good to give attention to what might emerge. A route often taken is to offer specific things for children, but I’m really interested in finding ways to enable children to be part of community, helping to shape the community, and being shaped by it.
Here’s a few starter suggestions from my own experience as to how this emphasis might look...
• create a child-friendly way into any action of conversation that the community is involved in
• rather that getting someone to take children off parents’ hands create a culture where parents and children contribute, learn and care together
• work at the community’s story-telling [in all media], find your gifted storytellers, and tell great stories
• give an central place to play [for everyone] as being both a way to learn and create community
• create places and times of stillness for all the community. Children and adults alike can be encouraged to enter stillness, so discover ways to make stillness part of the community’s culture, a gift to everyone.
• make sure that proper attention is paid to the care of children - see the legal requirements as just the starting point for their care
Of course there are challenges, including changing seasons of life, varying personal learning preferences, and different parenting styles. But there’s something really hopeful about community where children are genuinely enabled to play their part...
peace to you
Friday, December 18, 2009
ways into small missional community  children and community
here's the next in my series for the small missional communities project: