Sunday, June 21, 2009

Aquinas For Kids: 2

Now that Faith Formation classes are over for my son Miguel, I decided I will take it upon myself to teach him something new each Wednesday at approx. the same time that he would be in class. I haven't planned out a solid curriculum yet... I'm playing it by ear so far. What follows is an accurate recollection of our first session.

Me: "Here's something I want you to learn - Grace does not destroy nature it perfects it. Lets talk about grace first" (explanation of grace with examples) "Ok now lets talk about nature. When we talk about the nature of man, it means things that are natural to men. So lets think of some things that are natural for man."

Miggy: "Oh you mean like hands and arms and hair and poop?" (Remember, he's 9)

Me: (pause) "Yes. Yes all those things are natural to man and those are good examples. But they're all physical things, things you can touch."

Miggy: (Breaks out in laughter)

Me: "Whats funny?"

Miggy: "So you're telling me you can touch poop?"

Me: (Frustrated) "Well you can but you shouldn't. Youre making this difficult. Ok now remember that those are physical things but lets think of some non-physical things that are natural to man. " (We came up with examples, one that I stuck on because it was being exhibited throughout this exchange was laughter). " So laughter is in man's nature. So based on what we've learned and have been talking about grace not destroying nature - do you think grace will destroy our ability to laugh or make us no longer want to laugh?"

Miggy: "No."

Me: "Thats right, it wont." (more examples, more repition to drill it into his head) "Ok so I just want you to remember that grace doesn't destroy nature - it perfects it."

Miggy: "Dad the thing I'm going to remember most about this is that you can touch poop."

Gotta love the brutal honesty. Actually he has done a good job of remembering it and he's repeated it several times since then. The grace part I mean - not the other one. :)

Maybe its a weird place to start teaching a kid, not sure. I'll see where it goes. Kids are natural Thomists - they haven't learned the silly skepticism of the world yet. This should be fun.


Ben said...

Though, the kid has a point, replace "laugh" with "poop": "So based on what we've learned and have been talking about grace not destroying nature - do you think grace will destroy our ability to poop or make us no longer want to poop?"

That's a headscractcher: what is is about laughter or having hair or a hand that is "more natural" to humanness or differs from the other natural necessity of voiding one's waste? If, in the new heavens and earth, we will still have hands of some sort, and we will laugh in a way, and have hair of some nature, will we not also process waste? (Beginning to see an answer to my own question: waste is a symptom of imperfection...)

Tim A. Troutman said...

Oh he was quite right that it is a natural thing. It was just a strong distraction for him from that point on. LOL.

Actually it might have helped him remember the whole thing better because he has proudly repeated to others several times since then "Grace does not destroy nature, it perfects it!"

Andrew Preslar said...

Hey Tim,

This reminds me of something I read in Thomas More's Dialogue Concerning Heresies:

"The eyes can be deceived and think they see what they do not see, if reason gives over its hold. Unless you think the magician ... cuts your belt, in front of your face, in twenty pieces and makes it whole again, or puts a knife into his eye and sees never the worse. And turns a plum into a dog's turd in a boy's mouth...."

At this point, I lost the thread of the argument. What the hell kind of magic shows did they have back in the day?

Tim A. Troutman said...

I guess the lesson is: do not let your illustrations be more interesting than the things they illustrate.