Beliefnet
Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

World Youth officially ended two days ago.  Did it escape your notice?  Perhaps if you are not closely associated with the Catholic community you didn’t even know there WAS a World Youth Day. (And besides, it’s a bit misleading…because the “day” is actually a collection of days.)

The event was envisioned several decades ago to empower Catholic youth to embrace and speak easily of their faith.  No small task since many adults struggle with ways to articulate their faith, their structure of belief, to anyone who might be interested.

A few weeks ago I enjoyed a deep, although brief, conversation with a nine year old.  We conversed in the presence of her grandmother, who was under the impression that she needed to speak a little more slowly and enunciate her thoughts clearly and at a higher volume in order that her grand daughter might better understand her adult thoughts.  At the end of our chat the nine year old said with kind emphasis, “Thank you.  Really.  Thanks.”  Translated to:  thank you for speaking to me as if I have a working brain and have a moderate understanding of how things work.”

At nine.  At eight.  At seven.  I could continue to count down.  Kids are smart.  Connected.  Logical.  Kids can deal with so much more information that adults imagine.  They are innovative, unencumbered by the boxes, definitions, restrictions that will come quickly upon them as they move upward through the educational system.  A system that unfortunately educates the capacity for imagination and dreaming right out of them under the auspices of preparing them for the “real world.”   Hmmmmm.   Real. World.  Recycling.  Reuse.  Reduction.  These are concepts that come naturally to children.  Any child knows at least seventeen alternative uses for a large, empty cardboard box.  As they age these principles are  slowly squeezed out of them through the acquisitive meme of our commercialized culture.  And then…they get to be “taught” (again) structures that they once knew and lived in naturally.  Ah. But I digress, do I not?

Kids are smart.  Until they are educated with “because I said it’s so,” they are actually willing to try and figure things out on their own.  OOOOOOhhhh.   Until they are taught that they have to be TAUGHT how to figure things out on their own.  WHoooosh. There goes all that empowerment.  Self-knowledge tossed out the window.

Could we celebrate that a child might answer an adult,
“Because I said so?”  A lot of my adult friends find it difficult to reference their positions with, “Because I say it’s so.”  We are schooled that footnotes for knowledge are required. Sourcing experts who have the right to declare that something is so, or that it is not so.  But really, who is more of an expert about your own soul than…you?

If there are children in your life – how about you have your own Youth Day celebration?  Empower that child to connect to all the structures of their life.  Ask a child a question and then have the presence to actually listen to their response.  Instead of correcting their response how about asking more questions?  It might turn out to be an empowering experience for you both.

“Because I said so.”   Try it.

 

 

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