Chris J. Boyatzis and Babette T. Newman wrote Chapter 11 in Children's Spirituality- "How Shall We Study Children's Spirituality?" I'm quite impressed by those studying it. They seem to care about children as much or more than their area of expertise and about going after God.
Whether or not the focus is on Christian spirituality, it's exciting for scientists to admit that there is a spiritual part of man (particularly children) and that it's essential to our being human. It's exciting for them to recognize that spirituality (particularly children's spirituality) must be studied from many different angles and levels through the eyes of many different scientific disciplines because it is so complex. They liken this to taking many snapshots of something from many angles giving us a better picture, helping us see and better understand this "complex" "multifaceted" "phenomena." I particularly like this image. They're taking a very holistic approach which I think benefits children greatly. (p. 161)
- to understand how a child relates to the trancendent (things like "God, nature, other people, love...") we must "allow the child's own words, activities, and creations to be the primary source of insight." This is the only way to understand the variety and depth of a child's spirituality. (p. 177) Perhaps, it might even be enough just to observe it and record it (it's real! it's there!) without being driven by the need to understand it.
- "to understand the child as a meaning maker, a spiritual pilgrim who grows outward in small steps or sudden spurts toward the transcendent while growing ever more deeply in his or her innermost parts." And perhaps to help children identify and talk about the meaningful experiences and insights that they gather as they grow. God calls us to remember what He does and to tell our children and our children's children. If we approach this with wisdom and care we can help children do this, too. As for adults - something real to hold on to when we doubt.