Commemorating Age of Reason

When I was in 2nd grade I had my 'First Communion' in the Roman Catholic Church. This came after months of once-a-week classes with a kind woman from the church who talked to me about God, faith, and guardian angels. I was the only one having their First Communion at that mass, and I proceeded with the priest, acolytes, and readers to the altar and sat with my parents, brothers, grandmothers, and great aunts. It was a memorable occasion, and it's one that not all children have. That's perfectly fine, of course, but there is a way to do something similar without reliance on a religious faith.

In the field of childhood development it is generally understood that the primary stages are early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence. Early childhood is a time that runs from birth to roughly 8 years of age, and it is a time of enormous social, emotional, cognitive, and physical growth. Language development during this time lays the groundwork for all else in the future, with both spoken and written skills. It is around ages 7 and 8 that experts say children experience a significant improvement in their ability to distinguish reality from fantasy and guide their actions with an enhanced sense of moral conscience. Their ability to reason really begins to shine at this age. 

In this transformative time of a child's life it is good to celebrate their progress as well as demonstrate thankfulness for their lives with us. An Age of Reason ceremony can be tailor made to fit the customs, history, and unique values of the family. It can include elements such as simple readings, statements from parents, grandparents, or other guardians about the importance of the child to their lives, and possibly the giving of a book to the child. If the book is part of the ceremony, it should be something special to a beloved family member or of significance to the family in some way. Ideally it will be a children's book appropriate to the child's age, and one that communicates a message that the family hopes to instill in the child's life. Another aspect of the ceremony can be a video clip of key moments of the child's life, sharing stories, and the child wearing something that's special to them. 

There are really many possibilities for celebrating the children in our lives, and an Age of Reason celebration is valuable in reinforcing the values we hope to impart while communicating our love and appreciation to the child. If you are interested in having such an event for your child, contact me and I'll be glad to work with you to plan and then officiate the occasion.