Revista Studii Teologice


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"Modalităţi de cultivare a motivaţiei creştine a copiilor şi a tinerilor. Repere practi-ce de abordare misionar-catehetică"

How to Cultivate the Christian Motivation of Children and Youth. Practical Guidelines for a Catechetical-Missionary Approach

Autor(i): Pr. Florin STAN

The Romanian Orthodox Church is nowadays challenged to intensify its missionary and catechetical activity among children and youth. Orthodox theological writings have addressed priests, catechists and even missionaries, but practical directions on how to generate and cultivate the Christian motivation of children and youth, through catechetical or missionary activities, are still largely needed.
The present study aims to respond to this practical need that is increasingly felt within parishes. The language used is easily accessible, despite the twofold (theological and psychological) approach, as I have opted for an integrative manner of applying the latest research in the field of educational psychology. I have resorted to this twofold approach, for several reasons: 1) insufficient catechetical and missionary expertise of the Church in its interaction with children and youth, a situation generated by secularization and the dramatic downplaying of the traditional role of the Christian family in conveying the elements of faith; 2) the positive educational experience of public education; 3) insufficient intuitive traditional knowledge of children’s and teenager’s physical-psychological traits caused by acute, deep impairments in the normal pace of human development; 4) the attempt to bring an indirect contribution to the „renewal of the Orthodox anthropological view” (Rev. Ion Bria).
The first part of the study briefly presents the „motivation” concept, its role, as well as the factors contributing to its emergence and development. Motivation develops according to two factors: internal factors, both innate traits (age, temperament, gender, general health), and acquired ones (values, beliefs, knowledge, self-perception, worldview, the perception of one’s own efficiency, etc.), as well as external factors, namely general or particular contextual influences such as: social-cultural environment, family, education, etc. Then we provide a rough categorization of the stages in the motivational development, accompanied by practical suggestions for a catechetical-missionary approach to each period.
As there is no innate, general motivation (drive), but only a circumstantial, particular one, as teachers, catechists and missionaries we are interested in iden-tifying the factors that may contribute to the emergence and development of children’s and teenagers’ spiritual motivation. Therefore we have attempted to ascertain and describe the main factors involved in acquiring both academic and spiritual performance, which are actually the same. Among the many factors engendering Christian motivation, we mention the most important ones: goal, confidence, affectivity, interests, needs.
We must take into account the spiritual maturity, interests and needs of those whom mission and catechesis address, so that they can understand correctly the pedagogical message of the kenosis and Incarnation of the Son of God. Creating and cultivating a positive atmosphere during mission and catechesis is a proof of appropriating the fruits of the Pascal event, while the eschatological orientation is a fundamental premise for real communion with Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.
Although external, contextual and social-cultural factors have a major role in engendering Christian faith and its motivational support, they are not analyzed in the present study but will be tackled in a future one.
Missionary practice is now expected to follow the missionary-catechetical guidelines indicated by the present study and provide new particular examples to enrich the invaluable Orthodox expertise offered by the Holy Scripture as well as hagiographic literature.

Pagini: 243-264