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Reform Magazine | May 21, 2024

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A good question: What can we learn from children? - Reform Magazine

A good question: What can we learn from children?

One question, four answers

LES PARKER
‘The children would find barely noticeable side paths’

The opening prayer we use for each session of Church by Nature Sleaford (Sleaford Forest Church) ends: ‘In your name we welcome each other, weak and strong, weary or lively, children full of curiosity and fun, to share this moment in your presence.’ (From Celtic Daily Prayer Book 2 by the Northumbria Community.)

From time to time I remind people that we are all children in the kingdom of God. In fact, Jesus told us that we must become like children to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3), so maybe we need to learn from them…

Les Parker is a co-founder of Church by Nature in Sleaford, Lincolnshire

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LORRAINE WEBB
‘I’ve learned to accept myself for who I am’

It was a lovely autumn day and I was walking through the woods with my two-year-old god-daughter Sophie and her mum, splashing through the puddles and kicking up the fallen leaves, when suddenly Sophie stooped down and started intently picking at the floor with her fingers, carefully sifting through the gravel. She tenderly picked up several choice stones, cradled them in her hand, then slipped them into mine: ‘For you, Rainy.’ In that moment I learned what ‘precious’ really means, that value lies not in worldly measures but in what, and whom, you treasure…

Lorraine Webb is Programme Officer for the URC’s Children’s and Youth Work, a mother of two, godmother of four, great-aunt of six, and teacher of hundreds

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PHIL WATSON
‘In one hand was a broken photo frame’

Our house was quiet. Ominously quiet.

I could sit and read the paper for a minute longer or I could go and investigate. I chose the second option.

Putting down the sports section, I left the kitchen of our 1930s semi-detached home to find out why the seven-year-old was making so little noise.

As fully approved foster carers for our local authority, we had learnt a thing or two about children. We began fostering when our birth kids were five and seven.

Our local authority sent us on numerous training courses about attachment, additional educational needs, food issues and internet safety.

As a secondary school teacher, I knew quite a lot about the National Curriculum, data management, and what to do when a fire alarm sounds…

Phil Watson is a birth father, foster carer, adopter and promoter of fostering for Liverpool City Council

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IVY NG
‘Like children entering nursery, we learn from others’

My first year working in a nursery brought two young boys to my attention. Their contrasting experiences serve as reminders of the resilience, adaptability, and authenticity that children possess.

The first was a two-year-old who cried inconsolably from the moment he arrived, for nearly two months. Despite the challenges, there was a continuous improvement in his adjustment. I remember struggling to find a way to soothe him throughout the day. As most of the children began to settle down and explore their surroundings, we also had to consider those still feeling afraid and insecure in this unfamiliar environment. One approach was to allow the child to observe others and gradually familiarise themselves with their surroundings…

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This is an extract from an article published in the June 2023 edition of Reform

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