Starts it Off 5 IMOLLY WALSH mane LAST week I mentioned that I had had an interesting conversation with a young mother on the subject of the religious education of small children. In the course of this she said that she wished that there were books about this just as there were about the physical care of babies. She ended by saying: " Why don't you write an article about it ?"
Well of course this is too great a temptation to be resisted easily, but in self defence I must say that I first of all made a tour of several bookshops to sec what is available in this line, and so far as my investigations went, the answer is very little.
Quite the best thing I discovered was a work called " God's Hour in the Nursery," published by an American firm and distributed in this country by Ducketts. This is in two parts, the "Guidance Book " which costs I Is, and the " Activity Book " which costs 7s. 6d. They are not very large books and it is a lot of money. but I think they would be an excellent investment for people just starting a family. I know I should have welcomed them.
CHRISTOPHER'S Talks to Parents, by Fr. Greenstock, which has a chapter on the subject, is now out of print. but could be obtained from the library. There is practically nothing else. although there is plenty for older children, primarily meant for teachers, but which could be used by parents. To encourage other parents to send in their own ideas, here arc a few of my own.
The first years are important but fortunately very simple. It is from the love and security which a baby receives from its parents that it will derive its later conception of the love of God.
As Dr. Charles Burns somewhere said, "It might almost he said; you can do what you like with your children as long as you love them. " Love and do what you will."
The earliest training we give to children is in the formation of good habits and training in religious habits can begin at the same time.
daily routine, naturally he will be told stories of Our Lord. These are much better told first in our own words because the child gets the sense that we are talking of people whom we know and love.
Picture books present a difficulty because T must confess that so far I have failed to find any religious books which compare with the best secular picture books which 1 think is a pity.
THE best one it still I think the
Childhood of Jesus by Magdalen Eldon and Frances Phipps. Although the pictures are not coloured, they are very well drawn and could be coloured at home. There is excellent material for reading out loud to the three to five year olds. This is published by Collins and costs 6s. 6d.
A visit to Church will of course be incorporated as often as possible in the daily walk.
Children love the idea of Our Lord living in His little house on the altar. They want to see Him when they go to Mass or Benediction and some parents find it difficult to find a way of conveying the idea that Our Lord is really in We mustiHntss.
ttnot say He is pretend
ing to be bread. I always said, and -1 hope that it is not too untheological that Our Lord is hiding in the bread. It is also necessary to explain that it is a special kind of bread because they are often puzzled because it is not like the bread they see at home.
I should be very glad to hear of ideas and hooks that other parents have found useful.
I have just room to mention a most useful book dealing with children's illnesses, their early symptoms, how to deal with them and when to send for the doctor. It also contains useful and clear instructions for first aid in the home, and ways of avoiding accidents. It is the Housewife Book of Children's Illnesses by Anne Cuthbert (Hutton Press, 6s.).