What does it look like to have spiritual conversations with children? What is our responsibility and role as parents/grandparents/friends, teachers, etc. when it comes to talking and interacting with children about their relationship to God? Having four children of my own, I was immediately excited about this book. Our kids are learning more and more about Jesus and the gospel and what it means to have a relationship with Him, so how do we foster this and keep it going as parents?
The title of this book was very intriguing, but if I am honest, it had several surprises along the way. It follows and promotes practices that I am unfamiliar with, such as the practice of “spiritual direction” and “holy listening.” Borgo is a spiritual director herself, and provides spiritual direction for children at a transitional housing facility for homeless families called Haven House. It is my understanding that spiritual direction is a space and place to open up in conversation and interaction with children to lead them to an encounter with Jesus, often through listening and prayer. So a lot of principles and applications from this book come from the value of this spiritual practice.
Though I was unfamiliar with this aspect of the book, I did appreciate the value of listening to children and being present with them and to them. Borgo has massive experience with broken and hurting children, and her gentleness and care for them is evident in this book. She gives multiple examples of conversations between herself and these kids, giving us a glimpse into what spiritual conversations actually look like, though every child is different. She also speaks into the language of “play” and how important our posture is towards children.
Pushing against our natural inclination to talk at or teach children, we will learn how our eyes and ears will help us to contemplatively listen to children, and further how this listening opens a child to respond to God’s invitation.Lacy Finn Borgo, page 4
Though listening is crucial, so is teaching and sharing the gospel through word and deed, and how this gospel is Good News in light of our sin and broken relationship with God. Unfortunately, these crucial truths were mostly missing from this book. Salvation through the cross of Christ is our children’s greatest need. Sharing these truths does and should involve listening to our children and approaching them in a loving, caring, and open way.
I appreciate Borgo’s dependence on the Spirit to work in and through her conversations with children. It was a book that challenged me to more relational and Spirit-dependent interactions with my kids. For this reason, I think it is a great book to inspire and change how we view and cherish the children in our lives.
* This book was graciously provided by IVPress in exchange for an honest review.*
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