Morgenkreis for Adults: Can We Learn from Children?

 Children always ask great questions that are sometimes not expected. In an interreligious and intercultural project about the angel in cultures, the elementary school children started talking about their ideas of angels in a sitting circle. One of the students said “my angel is my „Super Hero.“ And another student talked about a guardian angel who protects her from all dangers.

In this round, a Muslim girl also talked about the idea of angels in Islam. She told about the angel Gabriel who came with the revelation to the prophet Mohammed. She added: “Every person is accompanied with two angels, One on the right shoulder, the other on the left shoulder. If you do good, the angel on the right shoulder, writes your good deed and if you do anything evil, the angel on the left shoulder writes it.“ At that moment another child came forward and said, „Where are these angels, I have never seen angels on my shoulders 😊” and he looked at his two sides. Then, the girl tried to show or explain to him that what she reported about angels is metaphorical and he just took it easy. I was impressed by their openness and courage in the discussion. Because they are conducting a theological conversation about a very sensitive topic in the history of theology with full curiosity and tolerance. They do theology in a way that many theologians of our time cannot.  We as Adults need to learn from children. We need their spontaneous curiosity, courage, and tolerance. We need to create for ourselves this “Morgenkreis”[1] where discussions do not try to change and could end up simply by a simple acceptance of the other.

[1] A morning circle is a control instrument of pedagogy. It serves to address the children’s state of mind and the day’s form, and to determine the daily tasks. In the morning circle, I give the children a chance to reflect and express their questions freely.

Ahmed Elshahawy ist Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Paderborner Institut für Islamische Theologie.

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