The gift of childhood

Children: Close to the Mystery of God

Authors: Catholic Education SA

CESA’s 2014 Theology of the Child Working Party (including parents, principals, APRIMs, and members of the Catholic Education Office)

This short stimulus paper was created by the CESA to invite school leaders, parents, carers, teachers, parishes, as well as the broader community to begin thinking and communicating about the great dignity of children and childhood from the perspective of the Catholic Tradition. This paper particularly invites readers to: consider the high regard in which Jesus held children; to recognise the grace of God continually at work in children’s lives; to acknowledge the brokenness that our societies put onto children, and in this acknowledgement healing can begin; and to be agents of the Mystery of God’s love.

Jesus held children in the highest regards, and insisted children were seen as models by the disciple’s. CESA’s Re-imagining Childhood initiative was based on this high regard for children and hopes to lead others to reflection that will affirm and challenge readers to form a renewed appreciation of children’s immense value, as well as emphasising the dignity and competence of children to encourage their participation in society as competent human beings. This will in turn help form resilient, creative, and self-determined adults.

Children touch on the Mystery of God, through their enquiring minds, search for knowledge, and how they use their imagination and play. Children have uncomplicated affection, trust and warmth, and include and care for others. Children are as close to the infinite love of God as adults. And therefore, no less than the lives of adults, the spiritual lives of children are of unsurpassable value. It is for these reasons that Catholic social and moral teaching have always emphasised the dignity and sacredness of every human life from its very beginning to its natural end.

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