Help children learn the skill of Reflection

A university professor ended her week of instruction with reflection questions for her students: What was your significant learning this past week? What did you learn or what was reinforced about yourself?

Reflection didn’t happen.

reflection questionShe asked the students to get in small groups to discuss. “They got in their groups and just looked at one another with baffled looks on their faces while remaining silent. I tried rewording the questions and providing examples and still got blank looks when they returned to their group discussions,” explains Jackie Gerstein.

Without reflection, kids aren’t getting the meaning.

She continues, “I began to get frustrated by their lack of response until a major AHA struck me . . . They are products of a standardized system where they …finished one unit of information and were asked to quickly move on to the next unit.  They were not given the time, skills, and opportunities to extract personalized meanings from their studies.  Reflection was not part of their curriculum as it cannot be measured nor tested.” *

In Child-Centered Spirituality we observe the same thing happening.

Kids move from one activity to the next. Be one of those adults in their lives who offers them time to consider and express what they are learning or feeling. I was with a preteen girl and her grandmother this week. The girl planned for the three of us to have lunch and go to a movie. At lunch we laughed a lot and I when I looked back on our time together, I realized that we had touched on living in our families, how we’re experiencing God, and making smart choices. One open-ended reflection question can create an AHA moment for everyone at the table.

Try one of these reflection questions:

  • What are some things you got to do this week that other people might not be able or allowed to do?
  • What do you think are the most important qualities of a good (grandparent…parent…teacher…etc)?

*I read Jackie Gerstein’s story on her website, User Generated Education.

Tweetable: Kids move from one activity to the next and few adults offer them time to consider and express what they are learning. Examples here of reflection questions. Click to Tweet


Hot and bothered in the summer

driving bothered I got into my hot car after the final stop of my morning errands. A foul-up at the self-checkout was going to make me late for a lunch date. I hate being late and I lost my composure as I drove to meet my friend and her 11-year-old granddaughter for lunch and a movie. I rolled through a Stop sign as I turned right. I drove above the speed limit. I changed lanes more often than I should, to save—what? a few seconds?

As I got out of my car in the restaurant’s parking lot, an older man driving a white pickup truck pulled up near me.

“Where did you learn to drive??!!” He raised his voice, “that was some reckless driving!!! You better be careful.” And then he drove away.

No profanity. No name-calling. Something bothered him. Could it be that he followed me because he was actually concerned about me and/or the other people driving around me? That’s what I chose to believe, and I took his warning to heart.

“Our character is not like a statue. It is more like an unfinished story.”

That’s a quote from Lewis Smedes, and he went on to say: “To speak of character is to admit that there is a thing called humankind.  We are not simply a huge collection of individuals, each one of his and her own kind. There is a kind of person we all are meant to be. There are some human qualities that God intends every individual member of his great family to share.

“There is a universal moral pattern, a shared character, an image of God, that is meant to filter through the private windows of all of us unique individuals.”

With steady perseverance we keep coming back, again and again, to allow the image of God to shine brighter in our own lives.

Tweetable: With steady perseverance, keep coming back to your focus on self-control in action. I lost focus and a gruff but kindly stranger taught me a lesson. Click to Tweet