What is vocation and how do you teach children about it? Vocation is a word used by the church to mean the work God does through you. He has called you to the vocation of wife, husband, mother, father, child, sibling, church worker—just to name a few. But do children understand they too, play an important part in God's family?
Their vocation as child of God and child in this world is a beautiful and an important lesson to teach. 1 Corinthians 12:4–6 says, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of activities, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” God does not need our help, but he uses our gifts and activities to help those around us. Each of us and each child around us has important vocations. Below are some discussion points for teaching children about vocation at home, school, church, and out in the world.
Teaching about Vocation at Home
God works through you no matter your age. When children hand toys back to their baby sibling while mom and dad are unloading groceries, they are doing the work of God through their vocation as sibling and child. When a child says, “I don’t like that; stop it.” to a sibling instead of hitting, they are serving their vocation as sibling by explaining themselves and not harming. When a child feeds a pet, they are serving the vocation of caring for God’s creation.
Recently, a wonderful mama wrote a post about a child’s vocation in the family. Christ’s salvation and God’s use of vocation are as real and tangible for all ages. What other examples can you think of YOUR child helping other at home? Ask them and see how God is working in them. Try to catch those moments and point them out to the child. You could even tell them thank you for working in their vocation!
Teaching about Vocation at School
Remind children that teachers, principals and classroom aides are there to help children learn and grow. It can be important to relay this to children. Children do not always grasp the purpose of school beyond something that mom and dad want them to do. Share with them that God is using schooling to help their minds become stronger and wiser. These teachers, administrators and support staff all have a special role in helping your children grow up! I used to tell my second-graders that their school days help to prepare them for the job they most want to have one day. Students have the vocations of learner, friend, classmate. . . the list can be long. How is a child helping others (children or adults) while they are at school?
Teaching about Vocation in the Church
Who are the people God is using to help you and your children at church? The ushers hand out the bulletin to help us in worship and guide traffic to the sacrament. The musicians help us to focus and praise God. The pastors deliver God’s word and teaching to us, feeding our spirits with life-giving bread.
The list of vocations at church is extensive! Think of the boards, committees, elders, altar guild, and more that help services to happen each Sunday. Point out and talk about these roles when you worship each weekend.
However, adults aren’t the only ones serving vocations at church. As children sing and participate in the service, they encourage the people around them. When children are quiet during the sermon, it allows mom and dad to listen and grow in their knowledge of the word as well. How else can your child help others during church?
Recognizing Vocations in the World
Point out people working in their vocations as you go about your life. The ones kids recognize quickly are firefighter, police officer, and doctor. But what about garbage collector, grocery store clerk, the school janitor, president, or grandparent? How is God working to help me through those people? Children have a key role in the kingdom. Do they know that? Do we always remember that? May God bless us as we work in our vocations to help children understand theirs.
God likes to help children and sometimes he uses mom, dad and siblings to help them with these tasks of recognizing vocation. How Can I Help? God’s Calling for Kids by Mary J. Moerbe with Gene Edward Veith is a simple but profound book that parents and kids can read to help recognize vocations in day-to-day life.