Elsa was walking along a sidewalk one summer day when she suddenly dropped down and put her nose to the ground. She was mesmerized by an over populated ant hill. She redirected their paths with her fingers and slowly positioned her hand so that they could run over and around her. She sat for a long time before she got up and studied it from a variety of perspectives. Then she turned to her Father and said, "I bet God watches us like we watch ants. Now I understand how God can touch and see me."
The father in this vignette is the non–custodial parent following the divorce of Elsa's Mom and Dad. Elsa is with her Dad every other weekend. How might Dad make use of this opportunity to share faith? How might Caring Conversation enhance the trusting relationship that her dad is wanting to establish with Elsa?
As two –year– old Sarah's family rushed into church they skipped Sarah's usual, cherished tradition of dipping her fingers into the baptismal font. After the service, carried in Grandma's arms, Sarah reached for the water. Then eyes shining and water dripping, Sarah quickly made the sign of the cross, first on her own forehead and then on her Grandmother's.
What caring conversation might follow and when might it take place?
How might Grandmother make use of this opportunity to share faith?
Kate's parents divorced when she was seven years old. Because of their continued love and support, Kate matured into a happy and healthy young woman. Last year the parents of Kate's best friend Jenna ended their marriage. Kate saw the pain and despair of Jenna's mother each time she visited. Then one day, over a pizza supper, Kate began to share her story.
What caring conversation might follow?
How might Kate make use of this opportunity to share faith?
When Marie's father was dying with cancer, his children and grandchildren visited him regularly. During their visits he often shared his faith and values with them through the stories of his life. Together they prayed and laughed and cried. Two years after her father's death, Marie was talking with her son–in–law Matt when Matt's father was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Expressing her concern for his sorrow, Matt quietly answered, " Don't worry about me Mom, Grandad taught me all about dying".
Identify the caring conversations in this story.
What other faith sharing might take place?
Two parents were busy trying to choose activities to include in their Christmas traditions. The list included cutting a fresh tree, hanging outdoor lights, wrapping gifts and visiting Santa. Their two and a half year old heard them talking and said, "When will we be putting up our Bethlehem?"
How might the parents respond? What might they say and what might they do? In what way might Caring Conversation deepen the faith sharing?
Helen had a lifelong hobby of writing poetry. Poems about friends, family and faith. Some of her poems had even been published. Now 80 years old and a victim of Alzheimer's, Helen can no longer write. Even expressing her thoughts is impossible. During her weekly visits her daughter reads to her. Sometimes it is the Psalms. Other times it is a poem that Helen wrote many years ago.
Could this be considered " Caring Conversation?" Why or why not?
What other "faith sharing" could happen in this situation?
Kelly was not only Noah's aunt; she was his baptismal sponsor. She cherished her relationship with Noah. For 5 years she had visited him frequently. Now he and his family had moved to a city 500 kms. Away. Kelly wanted to remain connected with this child who had a special place in her heart. Email provided the solution. Once a week she and Noah exchange letters. On one occasion they each made up a list of everything they were thankful for. The first week they named everything that started with "A". The second week, "B". They continued sharing in this way for the next 24 weeks.
Discuss the challenges of maintaining "long distance" caring conversation and relationship building. How could these experiences lead to faith sharing?
Permision is granted to reproduce this module for use in ELCIC congregations. Any other use requires copyright permission. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.