This article reflects on the social conditions that can facilitate the handing on of the faith to new generations. What nutrients are needed in the new soil of today’s childhood and youth for them to embrace the faith of our ancestors? What dispositions will we need to cultivate in each growing person so that the incarnate Jesus will find a crib in which to be born? How can the way be gradually smoothed out so that the manifestation of Christ takes place in the lives of those who will succeed us in time?
1. Lingering, enduring, pausing to perceive beyond things
It is clear that time is a necessary requisite for things to reveal their meaning, the aura they contain and their contact with our sensibility. This is particularly true today. Children and young people often suffer from factors that can lead to a sedentary life. They are absorbed by screens that incessantly transmit fleeting items of information. The static position of the motionless body contrasts with the disturbing amount of information, attractions, knowledge and entertainment that are projected. At the same time, from a very young age they are involved in an abundance of tasks, sports activities, and courses aimed at developing this or that skill, to relieve busy working parents from caregiving duties. This generates in them a hyperkinetic, but sedentary sensitivity. They become hypermental, but without control of their emotions, and hyperphysical, but disconnected from self-knowledge.
This unbalanced situation must be remedied. Children and the youth of our age need time to explore the outer and inner worlds. In order for things to attract them because of what they radiate and not only because they stimulate them uninterruptedly, children must be allowed to be bored, to indulge in creative idleness, to do things without aiming to be productive or profitable, and not for the sake of immediate learning. We need to develop pedagogies based on sensitive and lasting contact with the closest realities for an extended time. For example, focus on the human heartbeat, closely perceiving one’s breathing, marveling at the data transmitted by the senses in contact with one single thing at a time.