I am writing this in Canada, where my snow made family are enjoying the snow thanks to a prize my husband won from Mogul Travel.
As I am not currently allowed to ski, I snow shoe or wander my days away.
In fact I think I pray more on a skiing holiday, not just for my family though there is definitely a rise in requests for protection, but I pray for the people I encounter, I pray for the environment, I just enjoy long conversations with God about a whole heap of things that get pushed out of the way in the everyday.
But that’s not what is on my mind to write about today.
We have a room overlooking one of the ski runs and so from my vantage point I see the children being taught. Some are being taught by the snow school in small groups, the youngest starting out mostly on ski’s not boards. Most of the time the teacher/instructor is in the lead gauging out a path and showing the children where to turn. Others line the group up and ski down the hill a bit, then encourage each in turn to make their way down to the instructor/teachers side.Then there are the parents, usually with a single child in tow, some parents ski behind acting as a barricade, just fare enough away for independence but close enough to reach out in an emergency. Other parents ski with the child between their legs, showing them when to turn and giving comfort as well as guidance. Then there are the young boarders, usually in small groups, all encouraging and egging each other on. This group try new things, they are usually young or pre-teens, and I’ve noticed that when they spill or go down this group, eventually work their way back to their mate to check on them.
It also takes me back to when we first put our kids on ski’s, both were about 3, we taught them some basics, then had them skiing down little slopes or very big moguls, sometimes we were in front, sometimes we skied behind and other times we skied with them firmly wedges between our legs. We frequently went in for hot chocolates. And to warm up little fingers, toes and noses. But long before they were first on “planks” ski’s they had been up to Mt Hotham, where we ski in Australia, regularly since they were born. They were surrounded by other skiers, they heard the stories, knew the terms, One has the most beautiful technique, the other gives all she has got and every run is a race, against herself if no-one else.
I need to admit that we did better with teaching our children to ski than in establishing life long faith habits.
And this is what I really wanted to write about.
What if anything can we learn about teaching our young.
For one thing Christianity is not always caught it is taught, but teaching involves the everyday moments. It involves hearing the stories, being regular, listening to the enthusiasm of those involved in faith. Some might call this organic.
It involves finding the learning method that suits their age and stage. Erikson’s and Piaget’s theories point us in those directions.
They need space to practice on their own, Montessori’s theories support this observation.
They need to be shown different ways too. Our five learning methods show that we need a spread of different experiences to find our best learning style.
Studies are showing us that this new generation of youth want to be connected to the larger picture, not isolated as a seperate body of learners.
We need to practice our faith at home using multiple methods to help our children find their best faith expressions.
We need to stay connected to faith communities that can encourage us and them.
We need to live our faith, and show them how they can live theirs.
Yes there is a lot to learn from skiing!