For the next several weeks this blog is dedicated to unpacking Renovaré’s Life with God for Children curriculum. I hope to be able to provide some clarity, maybe some tips, suggestions, ideas and if the Spirit is willing and I’m not so hard headed, some wisdom too.
I had the great honor to be a public school teacher at Lincoln School #22 in Rochester, New York. The children, teachers, and administrators taught this very green twenty-five year old more life lessons than I can ever remember. (Sorry about that.)
It was here that I learned that children can spot a fake at fifty paces. If you don’t believe me try substitute teaching, which I did for about a year and I’m here to say those folks need to be paid more.
I’m not saying that substitute teachers are fakes; I’m saying they don’t have a permanent long-lasting stake in what happens in that classroom. Most really do love the children. Most are doing a great job, but they won’t be there day after day. Their lives aren’t interwoven with the children or the content. And the children know it.
For this reason, the lesson cycle in Life with God for Children (LWGFC) begins with Background Notes for Teachers.
You’ll notice it consists of page numbers from the Life with God Bible, which you can buy over at the Renovaré site. While the content within these pages do give a background to the story, there is more going on than background information. The pages also give the teacher ways to experience God and therefore grow in their own walk with God. It’s a space to grow in the abundant life that God has for them.
Is the Life with God Bible absolutely necessary? No, but it’s helpful. What is necessary is that every teacher is in a growing relationship with God. The curriculum is designed to engage both the children and adults in a life with God.
Outside of their time with the children, adults need to have ways they commune with God. Maybe it is reading the Bible, a daily prayer practice, living the Seasons of the Church, fasting, nature walks or worship. If you are looking for ways to go deeper in your life with God check out Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline.
Inside of their time with the children, adults can cultivate a listening and learning heart by asking the question, “How is God connecting with me through these children?” I think Jesus was pretty clear when he said the children would lead us into his kingdom. (Matthew 19:14)
You, teacher have an amazing opportunity to meet Christ in the children. They will teach you things about God you never knew. They will teach you things about you, you didn’t want to know. (Sorry about that.) And things you hoped were true, but couldn’t believe until it came from a tiny person who smelled of Fruit Loops.
The bottom line is we miss out on our life with God if we’re not “smokin’ what we’re selling.” If we aren’t leaning into the abundant life that God promises, if we aren’t learning to live our lives with God, the children won’t either.
As much as we may try to fake it, children know. And they will follow.
May all that is unforgiven in you
May your fears yield
Their deepest tranquilities.
May all that is unlived in you
Blossom into a future
Graced with love.
-John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us, 97.
 This is a phrase I have heard over and over from my Grandmother. It’s a jaunty way to say, “live what we teach.” It in no way endorses smoking. And while I live in Colorado, we don’t smoke the flora either.