Childhood spiritual styles: Sensory Style

“A spiritual style is a God-given antenna for the divine.” German philosopher Christian Schwarz’ research into how people connect with God gives insight into the way each child most naturally experiences God.

Many years ago I adapted Mr. Schwarz’ findings for my own personal use with the children in my life and I will pass this along in the next several posts.

sensory surfers love the big waveThe Sensory Style:  A child enjoys the works of God through beauty and perception.

Note the items that apply to children in your life to determine whether they likely possess a sensory style of spirituality.

  1. The child’s awareness of God is very much influenced by artistic or natural beauty.
  2. You would say that the child is very perceptive to what is happening around him.
  3. The child’s faith grows with her ability to enjoy nature more fully.
  4. Art has a high spiritual impact on the child.
  5. The child frequently perceives God’s presence in the everyday aspects of life where other people see nothing spiritual.
  6. The child likes to use touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing to encounter God.
  7. The child enjoys being surrounded by physical objects that have spiritual meaning.

cherries on a tree sensory treatDiscovery questions for sensory children

If you notice five or more of these characteristics, the child probably has a well-established pattern of expressing spirituality through their senses.

The following questions may be useful as you seek to strengthen their connection with God:

  • What does this show you about God?
  • What characteristics of God do you see?
  • What do you like about that?
  • How does that connect with who God is?
  • What thoughts and feelings come up?
  • How does that relate to God?
  • How do you experience God in this?

Coming up: The Rational Style

Adapted from The 3 Colors of Your Spirituality, by Christian A. Schwarz.

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Kids ask, “Can people actually make a connection with God?”

These ideas for discussing the possibilities of such a relationship are written at a child’s vocabulary level. Adapt it as needed for a child’s unique situation.

Your connection with God starts with God.

From the beginning of your life, God provides a family for you, intending that you will learn what love, nurture and care are. As an infant you responded to God when you experienced delight in looking at your parents’ faces, feeling warm bath water on your skin or being cuddled.

God’s bond with you is ready for you to join in whenever you want to.

God has been preparing it all along. Your human spirit–inside of you–is where this relationship develops. Since God is spirit, God provided you with your human spirit so you would have the inner space to hold a relationship with God.

You have been responding to God, even when you did not recognize it.

When you see the night sky with countless stars and feel amazement at how big and wide it is, you are responding to God’s glory.

When you see someone’s talent expressed you are responding to God’s handiwork. When you feel love and kindness being shown to you, you are sensing God’s presence.

If you take time right now to think about it, you would remember many times you connected with God. Something special was going on but you did not recognize that it was because of God.

Connect more directly with God the same ways you connect with people.

Starting in early childhood and continuing through your whole life, you have plenty of things to go to God about. You have lots to talk about and question. These questions, conversations and encounters, along with the feelings they produce, form the foundation of a real relationship.

Think about the relationships in your life.

You go places together, hang out, laugh, play, work, eat, talk, argue. With God, you do many of the same things. God has feelings. God is delighted when you are having fun. God feels anger when people hurt each other and feels happy when you are generous. God feels disappointed when someone breaks a promise. God understands everything you feel inside. When you are upset, maybe crying, you can be sure that God is aware of every tear. When you are celebrating a special occasion, God’s heart is full of joy. God knows and loves everything about you.

Note: These traits of God are taken from the Bible’s stories.

Tweetable:  What do you say when kids ask, “Can people actually make a connection with God?” Some good ideas here. Click to Tweet