"The solution is to be found through the sanctification of the parents. Become saints and you will have no problems with your children." Father Porphyrios , Wounded By Love

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Take a Close Look

Since we're on the theme of self-image, and coming to know what it means to be made in God's image....I decided to post one more activity for kids or teens to get them thinking a bit more about being living icons.

Start by gathering reflective objects in your home

Scratched CD's - compact mirrors - spoons - curved glass - metallic vases - platters, etc.

The idea here is to come up with a range of distortions where a face could be flipped, re sized, stretched, or hard to make out because of tarnish, cracks, and stains. If you're a Macintosh user, there is even a setting on the built in camera to play around with these types of funny images.

Next, gather your kids and ask them to pick up the items, observing their own reflections in each. What happens to the way they look? Which item shows them in the worst form and in the truest form? How might these objects be considered like other things in the world that alter our God-given form? (Here is the chance to further the discussion according to the responses.)

Possible examples that might arise:
* not taking care of our bodies
* an over concern for how we look to others
* the altering of our outer beauty through make-up
* the distortion of ourselves through drug and alcohol use
* eating too much or too little
* body piercings and tatoos
* slander and gossip (to damage someone else's image)
* promiscuity (tarnishing our purity in pre-mature relationships)
* a general build-up of everyday sins

Read together this quote from 1 Samuel 16:7

"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

Discuss together how our Lord intends to purify our souls to be radiant in the world, but many things can get in the way. For each person, the struggle is personal. First and foremost however, each of us is charged with the responsibility to care for God's image within ourselves, as our bodies are the living temple of our Lord. We are united with Him, so whatever we might do to ourselves or to others, we are essentially doing to Him. (I try to emphasize this with teens especially, since too often they inwardly hope a parent or friend will rescue them from a harmful situation, relationship, or decision, when in the end, it must be their own voice that chooses the path of holiness.)

Lastly, use the analogy of a bathroom mirror. Ask the kids what happens to the mirror when we shower?Explain, if this mirror represents our souls, which can become clouded by the things we mentioned above, how will we be able to see God's image in ourselves again, and reflect it to others? How do we clean the crud, build-up, and dirt from our souls?

Our answer is through the Holy Sacrament of Confession. Through God's grace, and the prayers of our spiritual fathers, our souls are wiped clean. But just as the mirror needs frequent attention, so too, does every soul. Therefore, may we be encouraged to follow in the footsteps of the Saints - who were sinners that simply never gave up trying.

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