Children's Recollection and Retreat Activities10:10 PM
What is a Recollection/Retreat?
The holistic development of a child is not deemed complete without spiritual growth and development. A recollection or retreat is intended to be a personal encounter with God often characterized by meditation, silence, reflection, and prayer. It primarily seeks to renew faith that may have long been practiced but not fully internalized so as to bring about the desired positive transformation of every human being.
The idea is to bring about a spiritual experience which can be understood by children in the hope that such an experience will encourage positive values and behavior. Recollections and retreats have the same purpose. The only difference is that the former is usually a day activity while the latter is an overnight up to a 3-day activity. For younger students however, an overnight retreat arrangement will suffice.
The Expected Benefits
Since the religion of children are chosen for them by their parents, it is an accepted fact that they acquire their faith without full understanding of the teachings and responsibilities of Catholics, in the case of students of Catholic schools. Schools participate in a child's spiritual formation primarily through the teaching of Religion or Christian Living Education subject. This is supported by active participation in mass and other sacraments plus faith renewal activities such as recollections and retreats.
The "break" provided by recollections and retreats from regular schoolwork is for the purpose of detaching the participants from the every day concerns that even young children are not exempted from. The activity seeks to refocus children in connection with their personal relationship with God., their family, and their friends. Relationships beyond these are usually tackled in recollections and retreats for older students. Refocusing is expected to provide clarity on issues affecting the child emotionally and psychologically.
Recollections conducted by schools for younger children are usually held in the school chapel or other areas in school with a peaceful atmosphere. Students in higher levels usually have their activity in Retreat Centers which are usually located in quiet locations such as Tagaytay or Antipolo. There are however many retreat centers located in busy areas such as Manila and Quezon City that manage to maintain their peaceful atmosphere inside amidst the hustle and bustle outside.
A spiritual guide who is not necessarily a priest conducts the recollection or retreat. Children and adults alike need guidance in this kind of activity to maximize the time and the opportunity for quiet and reflection. A schedule of sequenced activities are typically prepared beforehand for the purpose of attaining the set objective.
I distinctly remember crying every recollection and retreat I attended in my younger days. I cannot remember though, why I cried. There must be some reason because every time my own son comes home from one, it is very obvious that he did some crying of his own.
And so I asked and he said : " I cried because I knew some of the things I have done may have hurt you and Papa and I realized that when we were given the chance to reflect in our recollection. Sometimes, I get confused but I never meant to do anything hurtful."
And I said, "I know" because I remembered.
Given the time to pause and stop even for a while allows us rest of mind and body. Recollections and retreats allow even our soul a rest from the worries that engulf us. It is a time to listen in silence for a change.