Age 7

Imaginative Faith

The following is adapted from the work of professor James Fowler. For a fuller exploration, see this  article.

For children between the ages of 4 and 8, faith has a magical or imaginary quality, marked by the child’s ability to believe almost anything.  It is essentially intuitive, non-rational and non-conceptual.  It is based on what the child feels rather than on what the child thinks or “knows.”  It is, in a sense, “borrowed” from adults whom the child trusts to be knowing and truthful. 

This stage sets the foundation for the child’s eventual ability to believe in nonmaterial realities and sacred mysteries which cannot be seen or “proven.”  Imaginative faith is almost entirely non-critical or naive, in the sense that children for the most part lack the knowledge, experience and insight to evaluate or judge the content of faith against objective criteria. In this stage the child’s image of God depends primarily on how parents act and speak.  If parents are loving, kind and forgiving, the child assumes that God, who is like a cosmic parent or grandparent, is also loving, kind and forgiving. If a child sees a parent active in a faith community, the children come to understand that community as an extension of his/her family.

Resources for teaching 7-year-olds

Holiness at Home
Catechesis: Grades 2 – 4
WE ENCOUNTER God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit— three persons in one God.  Some ways we… Read More
Holiness at Home
Catechesis: Grades 1 and 2
WE ENCOUNTER God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The Bible is made up of two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament.  God’s creation (the world) is filled with… Read More
Holiness at Home
Catechesis: Kindergarten and Grade 1
WE ENCOUNTER God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The Bible is God’s holy book; it tells us about God’s love for the human race.  God created human beings in God’s… Read More

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