Children are drawn to video games. Kids get wiped out here and crushed over there, but they learn how to navigate even when they are too young to read. They recognize that a certain character has special powers. The holistic experience of surround sound with all the different visual game elements engages their mind, senses and spirit.
The same is true of imagination games, immersing children into an environment they create. It’s how they like to learn and play at a certain age.
But what happens when we introduce them to religion?
When adults tune in to religion, we are most likely tuned in to what others did or experienced. When we read sacred writings, discussion is on the interactions of someone else. When we hear a sermon, we are spectators to someone else’s thoughts and observations.
Outsiders looking in
Like a Sci Fi movie in which aliens observe human beings on Earth but do not enter into the human experience, this approach to the spiritual world has somehow become objectified as the outsider looking in.
As a teenager, Robert enjoyed taking pictures of family parties and social events until he had an epiphany: “I realized I was spending my whole life documenting the fun other people were having. I put away my camera for years and simply wanted to experience the relationships and social dynamics myself.”
By contrast, video games allow us to enter the environment….
…..to act and interact as if we are there — a tremendous image of the way children could encounter the spiritual. It’s completely different from religious people for whom the spiritual is external, rather than something they enter and experience moment by moment.
Help children engage their spiritual imagination to enter into the moment. Learning comes as they reflect and process, not just flit from experience to experience. Doing both — engagement and reflection — brings insight.
Next week’s post will highlight specific ways to begin doing this.
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