“Morality is not just something that people learn, it is something we are all born with,” wrote Gareth Cook in his recent interview with Yale psychologist Paul Bloom in an issue of Scientific American (Nov 12, 2013) (italics mine).
The interview with Bloom continues: “At birth, babies are endowed with compassion, with empathy, with the beginning of a sense of fairness. . . . The sort of research that I’ve been involved with personally, looking at the origins of moral judgment, is difficult to do with very young babies. But we have found that even 3-month-olds respond differently to a character who helps another than to a character who hinders another person.”
This kind of research is beginning to support the notion of child-centered spirituality– that the way to encourage children’s spirituality is found in opening yourself up to their world, in asking them questions and answering theirs, in listening. It’s about honoring the spirituality that God has already placed within them.
Too often adults believe either that we need never bring up spiritual matters at all or that we must instill our own beliefs about God into children. How do you suppose these options become so common?