learning together

John Boojrama asserts that the western Sunday school model, which the Orthodox Churches have adopted, in effect force-feeds children with theology that they are not ready for, and recommends family-centered discussion time instead (Foundations For Christian Education,15, 77). He also suggests that formal catechesis should proceed with the emergence of abstract reasoning ability at about the age of thirteen (40). But what of those who never reach this stage? Should separate, simpler catechesis lessons be developed for them? This line of reasoning coincides with the tendency of the parents of normally abled children to fear that differently abled children will interfere with their child’s learning, and then advocate for separation. Children themselves tend to be more accepting of differences. If this reaction and advocacy is resisted, the differently abled and normally abled children will grow up through Church school together, and the normally abled child will receive the indispensable gifts of the weaker member, the differently abled child—such things as the gift of patience with the differences of others, seeing the world from another point of view, and many other intangible gifts. And the differently abled child will be a living stone built into the wall of the Temple of Christ, rather than in the special little chapel out back, where he will feel different and apart. “I was a stranger and you took me in” (Matt. 25:35). A child that is disruptive needs help; a teacher’s assistant trained for the unique situation would be helpful in such a case. Everything possible should be done to make Matthew 25:35 a reality in Church School. And the differently abled child will be given an opportunity to grasp the complete curriculum and catechesis as best they can, in their unique way. There may be more absorption than the evaluation tools that are used can measure.” from St. John Chrysostom and the Socialization of Persons with Developmental Disability: Patristic Inspiration for Contemporary Application by William J. Gall (click on THESIS ) UPON REFLECTION- What is “normally abled?” In light of insights from the “multiple intelligences” people (See blogroll on the right) NORMAL is really a community kaleidoscope of variously abled people supporting each other. True, we are all to reflect one and the same image- that of Christ; but in various ways. At the risk of being redundant I would again direct readers to 1 Corinthians 12, St. Paul’s picture of how the Body of Christ functions. One thing for sure: we are all differently abled.

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