I wish I could recall where I found this link, so I could give credit. I was in a hurry, bookmarked it, brought it out to read recently, and can no longer credit the blogger who shared this.
Some snippets from the brief article:
Children are open to spirituality and have a "natural inclination for prayer", regardless of whether their parents have an active or non-existent faith, according to new research.
Prayer for them seems to be a very natural part of their journey of faith, whether or not they are active church goers.
It was also claimed that moments of loss, separation, and confusion trigger soul-searching and embryonic spiritual enquiry amongst children.
It would be expected that children from an active Christian family would pray, but to discover even those from a family with a less active faith were praying to a Higher Power is fascinating.
None of this surprises me in the least. I believe our brains are hard-wired to seek God. Children do think Big Thoughts. Children ponder eternity, in the simple act of being left alone to stare at the clouds or the trees. I've been invited by my children, even when they were at a very young age, to gaze at the sky with them, where we would sit in silent wonder. I've also spent time sitting in silent wonder, when a child begins to ask questions about eternity, the afterlife, and God.
That won't convince non-believers, but that's all right. The people I hope to convince are those who think that religion and spirituality need to be dumbed down for children. No, no one who does that calls it 'dumbing down;' they call it 'meeting the child where he is.' But when I was a child, I knew what they were doing. Don't hold back on offering Truth and Beauty to children!
They were beautiful days for me, those days when my "dear King" took me fishing with him. I was very fond of the countryside, flowers, birds, etc. Sometimes I would try to fish with my little line, but I preferred to go alone and sit down on the grass bedecked with flowers, and then my thoughts became very profound indeed! Without knowing what it was to meditate, my soul was absorbed in real prayer. I listened to distant sounds, the murmuring of the wind, etc. at times, the indistinct notes of some military music reached me where I was, filling my heart with a sweet melancholy. Earth then seemed to be a place of exile and I could dream only of heaven.
St. Therese of Lisieux recalls a contemplative side of her childhood, Story of a Soul