Many write for adults and few are those who write for children. Also, many occupy themselves talking with adults, but rare are those who love to talk to children. So, sometimes children feel they are not the core of attention and respect of adults, and accordingly they try to draw their attention by many ways, perhaps by outcry or stubbornness or (naughtiness). In this book, we need to talk about the child, his mentality and how to relate to him and gain his love, and to serve him spiritually, socially and culturally. Because the child is the first cell of the society and the church, if we gain him, we win an entire generation, and if we lose him we lose the future of the generation we live in, and consequent loss of the other generations.
I personally love children and love to joke, play, talk and make friends with them. in childhood I find innocence, truth and openness, as well as the quick response which we lack in adults. This book is not the outcome of a study of books of psychology and education, but the result of personal experiences with the children in Sunday school or at the numerous meetings at the church, and with families, kindergartens, clubs, etc...
I offer this book as a present to those responsible for education at church and also at home and those concerned with children. i gave many lectures on this subject; the most recent was at ST. George's church, sporting, Alexandria in august 1992, at the "week of the child" prepared by rev. Fr Tadros Yacoub Malaty, may god bless his sincere efforts to serve the stage of childhood.
GO DOWN TO HIS LEVEL
The stage of nursery and early childhood has distinctive qualities, which we ought to know in order to relate to a child...we relate to him with what is suitable to the level of his
mentality. If we fail - to a great extent - such failure returns to us, we must have misunderstood him or used the wrong means to attract him.
In the first place and before everything, we must go down to the level of the child and not talk to him from above. You must know what he likes and does not like. To understand
his nature and go along with it, do not to compel him to submit to your nature.
Make him feel that you are on his side, and you are a friend. This is the basis of dealings.
Remember the saying of St. Paul the Apostle, "To the Jews I became as a Jew that I might win Jews. To the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak." (1 Cor. 9: 20 & 22). So, to the child you have to become a child that you might win the child.
1. Before the examination
Beloved brother, blessed sister,
+ Organize the time that is left to you so that you achieve the following objectives:
a. Studying what has not been learned yet.
b. Reviewing the whole syllabus.
c. Mastering it through answering exam. questions, solving problems, and doing exercises.
+ Being organized makes you productive. You do not feel distracted and heavily burdened, but allot to every day its share of work and effort without collapsing under the load. A suitable and practical schedule is important to achieve this.
+ Preserve your spiritual calm through a living fellowship with the Lord through regular prayers as well as arrow-like prayers. Be certain that this is a saving of time for inner peace is your way to work that is well done.
Be careful to organize meal times and sleep, and make sure you have enough of both.
The Lord be with you.
Hates Prolongation and Loves Repetition
A child cannot concentrate on long speech and if you did so, he will turn away and keep himself busy with something else!!! He likes brief messages which he can pick up and understand easily. If you are compelled to tell a long story, try and make it in parts, a series of short stories, each independent of itself, prolongation causes boredom to the child. Also, he loves the repeated phrases. Whenever you tell him a story in which a phrase is repeated from time to time as the refrain in a hymn, he gives it more attention and says it because of his joy in repeating it, it is like a rhyme.
A child in kindergarten and primary stages is fond of imitating. He copies the movements of hands, head and features. He also imitates the walking and voices, he tries to absorb the characteristics of others and imitate them. Sunday School teachers and family members of the child have to be watchful otherwise he will imitate something bad of them. If a mother discovered that her child says a strange word or does a queer movement, she must understand that he picked it from others, maybe the neighbors, the visitors, a family member or the television. Here, we have to safeguard the child's environment as much as possible.
Before he leaves home (when he is older) to join the wider world, we must establish in him good principles which make him reject what he sees or hears contradicting such principles. When he does wrong, we do not rebuke him with a bad word, for fear that he picks it up and uses it with others. Here too we find the danger of domestic disputes between married couples, the language they exchange and the wrong actions in front of the children. It is either they pick up the same wording and use it, or their parents' ideals are no more a source of their education. Sometimes adults talk in front of children assuming that they do not understand!!
If a baby cannot understand, undoubtedly a child, who starts talking, expands his comprehension day after day. Even if he does not understand all what he hears, he grasps from the features and intensity of sound for example and then draws a conclusion. He might imitate what he hears or sees even without understanding. Comprehension is not important to him, but the sight. A child imitates his mother in all that she does. She enters the church, stands up to pray and makes the sign of the Cross, and he does the same. If she kneels before the altar or greets the priest and kisses his hand, he does the same.
He imitates his mother and his father if he enters the church with him. If the parents are religious, he will pick up their piety. Here we see marriage is a responsibility and not just a mere relationship between couples. It is an educational and spiritual mission for the children - whether from the point of education or the good example.
Therefore, for those intending to get married, they must be spiritually and educationally qualified for being a role model for future generations. A child does not forget what he hears, but frequently he recalls and repeats it, even in front of visitors, or other members of the family, and tells whoever he meets "Dad said so. Mum says so" or he may even recall an event eg. Dad hit Mum! A child does not keep a secret. Beware of any secrets said in front of him assuming that he does not hear it because he is asleep, while he is not.
Next: "THE LOVE FACTOR"
Source: Pope Shenouda III. 1995. How to relate to children. Coptic orthodox publication and translation. Sydney, Australia.