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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

364              THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

clean, well-nourished children. Growing up in this way, they have
no bashfulness, no timidity, no fear. They show pleasing self-
confidence, courage, a calm knowledge of things, above all, faith
in God, the author and preserver of life. The children are so
capable of distinguishing between natural and supernatural matters
that their insight has given us the idea that there exists a period
specially sensitive to religion. The age of childhood seems to be
bound closely to God, as the development of the body is strictly
dependent on the natural laws which are transforming it at that
time. I remember a baby girl of two, who, when put in front of
.a statuette of the Child Jesus, said, " This is not a doll! "

FIELD LABOUR IN RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION

We thought that it would be a proper and beautiful idea to
get the children to grow the grapes and the grain required for the
'Sacrament of the Eucharist, and to infuse the religious activity of
the children into the work and the pleasure of the fields. We
therefore set apart a piece of a large meadow where the children
used to play in the afternoons, for the cultivation of grain and
grapes. Two rectangular spaces were marked off by the children
themselves—one on the extreme right and the other on the extreme
"left of the field. A kind of grain which ripens quickly was chosen.
In the parallel furrows already prepared the children sowed the
seed, it being planned that each one of them shared in the sowing*
The movement in sowing, the care which had to be taken lest any
seed should fall outside the furrows, the solemn manner in which
this field ceremony was performed, showed clearly that it was an
act in keeping with the purpose which it was intended to serve.
A little later the vine plants were put in; they looked like dried
up roots, and their appearance gave small promise of the marvel
which the children had to wait for—the appearance one day of
bunches of real grapes. These young plants were placed in trenches,
in parallel rows, at equal distances apart. It seemed the best thing
#o plant flowers all round them, as if offering perpetual homage