Foreword Review — July / Aug 1999
Can a preschooler learn about God? Can adults maneuver safely through the changes of middle age and the challenges to their faith? Can older adults continue to grow spiritually?
These are just a few of the questions that this book addresses to help pastors and caregivers tackle the spiritual dimensions of life that confront people at all ages. Edited by Hightower, a Licensed Professional Counselor, here is a collection of essays with insight for anyone in a position of nurturing spiritual growth in others.
Yes, a preschooler can learn about God notes Cos H. Davis, Jr., author of chapter one, “The Preschool Years: Foundations for Life.” Children of this age learn about God the same way they learn about other values—through their relationships with adults—especially family members—and through activities that involve play, repetition, their senses, doing, imitating, curiosity and satisfying experiences. Even simple affirmations—“I’m glad you’re at church today,”—mean a lot to a preschooler.
Safety and laughter are avenues Thom Meigs suggests Generation X seek in their spiritual search. This is a time of life when people often hide from spirituality and God—through striving to appear perfect, or giving up completely with an attitude of defeat. Knowing this can help those who care find ways to guide these young adults through these often rocky years.
The demands on spiritual leaders and others don’t end there. Those in their middle years are some of the most difficult to reach, writes George H. Gaston, III. A review of the leading adult theorists of the times: L.J. Sherrill, Daniel J. Levinson, Gail Sheehy and Erick Erikson, provides insight into the issues those thirty and older face. It is a time of change—changing bodies, relationships and goals. Words, actions and programs that promote hope, faith in the midst of crisis, forgiveness and ongoing support are just a few ways to meet the spiritual concerns of this age.
This book does not neglect the senior years. “Twilight or Dawn?” asks author Albert L. Meiburg in this last chapter. The challenge here
is to focus on the opportunity these years offer. In practical terms, seniors, more than most perhaps, need advocacy and support from their caregivers and pastors to take advantage of this time to grow.
No matter where a person is at in their stage of life, this book provides brief but helpful insights on how to care for their spiritual needs. It is a book parents, adult children, Christian educators and pastors may want to keep near at hand when needing a quick review of the spiritual issues facing people at any age.