As most parents and teachers know from experience, a child’s mind is like a sponge – able to sop up and absorb a huge array of material that it comes across through the grade school years: spelling “Mississippi,” understanding the courage and contribution of Rosa Parks, counting to a hundred by fives, conjugating “to be”, or what it takes to make a chunk of potato grow.
But what can a child learn about the biggest mysteries of life? What can a child know about God? Is a child’s mind spongy enough to drink in the truth of creation? Of course, children are ready to see and understand the visible facts of creation – but what of the invisible truth behind those facts? What can they know for certain about the truth of the Creator?
What can a child know about God?
Quite a bit, actually.
Joey is a case in point. He was blessed to be immersed in Theology of the Body by inspired teachers throughout his middle school years. You can see this in the remarkable clarity of Joey’s simply profound insight of man in his video homework Human Ad (with a lilting musical boost from Vince Guaraldi.) Theology of the Body is foundational knowledge, a gift of Pope St. John Paul II in the early years of his pontificate. It’s not just the stuff of Master’s Class theses in the seminary – although it is rich ground for that. And it’s not just the basis for what it means to be a good Catholic – although it inspires this too. Theology of the Body is what every child needs to know to be authentically human.
Joey’s video is simple testimony to a child’s ability to grasp the most illusive, yet most fundamental truth of all: love. Our purpose is to be a gift to others. And just as a mother in any culture innately cuddles and sways with her baby for the first time, the classroom of love can be in session from our earliest days on the planet. Learning the contours of this strange and wonderful power through the teaching of Theology of the Body built gradually through age appropriate levels in every grade – will yield the fruit we all seek in this life – happiness.
Parents and teachers take note: we can offer our “sponges in residence” nothing more basic or higher than this.
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