Since Luke was born we have been given so many beautiful books which he is now at an age to really enjoy. Amongst all the brilliant books about aliens, trains and wayward lemurs we have acquired some fab books to encourage him in his spiritual life.
One of my absolue favourites is Images of God by Marie-Helene Delval, illustrated by Barbara Naseimbeni. This came from Luke’s Godmother (excellent God-mothering there, La, if you are reading!) and I know that we are going to be delving into it for years to come.
The format of the book is a double page spread of simple words and a beautiful illustration on different ‘images of God’. They are drawn from the Christian Bible but from my conversations with children of other faith I think these images could work well for sparking interesting thoughts in children from families of all faiths and none.
I like how open ended the descriptions are and how they stimulate the imagination. Things like ‘God is light – God is light so dazzling that our eyes cannot look at it. But the beauty of each day, the rays of the sun, the kindness and joy that light up a face, the hope and happiness that brightens our days – all these reflect a little of God’s light’. Children could go any number of ways in their thoughts and all of the images are everyday ordinary things that they will already have some experience of.
We tried reading one of these at dinner time each day and I found it gave me lots of food for thought. My little one isn’t of an age yet for discussions around the dinner table (unless you count screaming ‘No Like It!’ at the top of your lungs a discussion…!) but I can see how this would be a great conversation starter with older children. How much do they identify with the image of the day? Is that what they think God is like? What do they think God is like?
This might be a way of helping the kids around you to talk about some of their thoughts and spiritual experiences. Research has found that most children do have these kinds of experiences and thoughts but often feel that the adults in theie life aren’t interested to hear about them – I suppose because these things are so little discussed. Tools for starting discussions, whatever your personal beliefs, are really helpful to give children room to express their thoughts and feelings and to share some of their insights about the world around them.
This is a great book to have on the shelf to get the whole family talking!