Resources for Discernment with (and by!) Kids

 

by Melinda Wenner Bradley, Children and Youth Field Secretary of NYYM

 

Sharing Friends' practice of discernment can begin in First Day programs for children and youth.

When we consider a question, idea, concern, or prompting of the Spirit, what do we do? "How do we tell the difference between our own thoughts and thoughts that seem to be inspired by the Divine Presence?" This query is lifted up in, "When the Light is at Work in Us," a half-page guide to introducing discernment practices to children, collaboratively created by NEYM and NYYM staff. A First Day lesson about discernment could be crafted around the language in the resource, or it could be shared with families in your meeting as a home practice. Find it posted at: http://www.quakers4re.org/node/129

"Shaking Out the Truth," a curriculum for all ages of youth, focuses on making decisions using the Quaker processes of threshing sessions, clearness committees, and Meetings for Business. The ultimate goal of the lessons is to prepare children and youth to run their own meetings. Find the free download on the Philadelphia YM website: http://www.pym.org/publications/pym-curricula/shaking-out-the-truth/

A youth meeting for business is one suggested activity at the end of the Faith & Play™ story "Friends Meeting for Business." The story introduces meeting for worship with attention to business as a practice of communal listening and discernment. "When Friends take care of our meeting's business, we are holding the whole meeting in the Light. We enter into worship and we listen. We listen for God, we listen in our own hearts, and we listen to one another to know what to do."