When we try to teach our children about God and we can’t seem to find the right words, let us not insist too much on explaining; rather, let ourselves be inspired by God and by the child’s very mind, because we will be able to help our children not only through our words about God, but also by simply dwelling in Him. One can talk about God without necessarily mentioning His name.
The best educational methods make it a point, above all, to teach children how to learn. There is a saying that goes: “Give your son a fish and he will eat fine today. But teach him how to use a fishing rod and he will eat well all his life.” It is in the same way that we should look upon our role as Christian parents and educators. Let us inspire our children the love for God, whilst showing them at the same time how to find out for themselves God’s will. If we teach children to love God and his Saints, then “all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
In the Christian families (especially in priests’ families), children suffer sometimes from what we might call an “indigestion”, because of an excessive talking about God and churchly matters. It is possible for these children to continue to listen to such conversations out of mere politeness, but we can see and feel that they are no longer interested in hearing people talk about God, that they’ve had enough of the topic. In school, during religion classes, when we notice great differences between children, depending on their ability and willingness to learn about God, we can cause them great spiritual harm if we don’t address every one of them according to his/her ability to understand. Let us try to inspire their interest but without forcing them. Each child may be more spiritually receptive in some moments than in others.
Mother Magdalena – excerpt from “Sfaturi pentru o educatie ortodoxă a copiilor de azi” (“Advice for an Orthodox Education of Today’s Children”)