This year, I am trying something new in my "local" atriums - a pair of children set the prayer table at the beginning of class; a candle is lit throughout the atrum, with or without someone at the prayer table (an adult will supervise). The children planning Communal Prayer may make minor modifications that suit their theme. The two pairs of children must coordinate amongst themselves who will light/snuff (remaining) candles - or if they will ask others in the atrium to do so.
These boys set the prayer table - all those candles! They had a couple of lessons to learn about lighting candles, but they had the inner desire, self-control and respect - all the things that matter. These two boys are well-mannered, goofy at the right times, and serious only when they need to be. When it comes to setting the prayer table, they take themselves very seriously. And when it comes time for the photo, well... these boys make me smile!
Reminder to self: lessons in candle-lighting to be renewed next class - we went over everything last year, but a summer has passed.
They wanted another photo - just in case the first one didn't come out to their liking. ;)
Three young ladies planned Communal Prayer on this day. They sang the song "Our God is An Awesome God" and led a well-organized prayer time at our beautiful table - with confidence!
Thus far, I am really seeing good things come from having different children setting up the prayer table (a couple of volunteers clear it away after class as well) and planning Communal Prayer - there is communication and collaboration. They are taking SO much responsibility for the atrium themselves - even in other ways - because everything is not all laid out for them. They have the supplies they need, the lessons they need, some of these children have been in atrium for 5 years now (next year, I will have 4th graders who have been in atrium since age 3 along with some who joined along the way). It has been amazing to be part of these atriums and seeing them grow over the course of the last 5 years - and now to see these children really taking responsibility for themselves, for the atrium space, for their own faith formation.
Give them the keys - in this case, wings that have not been clipped - and they will fly!