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Drawing Toward God at Children's Hospital

Heal

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Coping with chronic illness requires spiritual resources that children cannot easily talk about. Now a hospital chaplain has developed two simple, enjoyable techniques to help them express their fears and tap into their deepest strengths.

This article appeared in the Spring 2001 issue of Spirituality & Health. Years of being with chronically ill children and adolescents at Children’s Hospital in Detroit has given me insight into their understanding of God’s presence, strength, comfort, and healing power in their lives. I can now say from long experience that children — all children — are very spiritual beings. But to understand that, I first had to learn to read their silences, to interpret their shrugs and even their blank stares. Most children don’t have the ability or vocabulary to express their spirituality, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there or it’s not important. Quite the contrary. The key for adults is to find ways to draw that spirituality out — and to recognize it when it comes. At Children’s Hospital we have developed two simple techniques that can help. The first technique is for the child to create a book called God & Me at Children’s Hospital, a book that allows patients to tell their story of how God works (or doesn’t work) in and through frequent, lengthy hospitalizations. Each page of the bo …

The Rev. Anna T. Souto is a staff chaplain at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. She is a graduate of Wayne State University (Detroit), BA in English Literature, and Ashland Theological Seminary (Ashland, OH), MDiv. in Christian Education. She is married and has two grown daughters. (2001)


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