Blessed Trinity lesson for my first grade CCD lesson tomorrow. It’s a mystery impossible for adults to grasp, much less first graders. How have you explained it to your children or grandchildren or neices/nephews, etc?
I was thinking along the lines of like how we are one person but we also have different parts. For example, I’m me but I’m also “mother”, “wife”, “sister”.
Do you think they would understand that analogy and/or if it’s a decent analogy for a six year old?
For adults I would avoid that analogy as it, like any analogy of the Trinity, has an error (modalism). With six year olds… I really have no idea what the best way to approach it is. Is an analogy a good teaching tool for the Trinity in that case? Or would it be better to be blunt that “God is one being who is three persons” and fend off questions with “it’s hard to understand, but ask again when you’re older”?
No, because that’s one person, three modes (too close to modalism) whereas the Trinity is One God, Three Persons.
I would not try to explain the trinity to 6 year olds. It’s an abstract concept and 6 year olds aren’t capable of understanding abstract concepts yet. I would focus on the concrete concept that there is one god in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. That’s probably the extent of it.
What does the lesson in your textbook say about the Trinity?
Do not use analogies even for children. The earlier you avoid error, the better. No father-husband-son, no shamrock, no water-steam-ice.
Explain it that there is only one God, but there are three Persons in that one God: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Son became man on Christmas Day. Who doesn’t love Christmas?
Then simply say we don’t fully understand it because it’s a mystery, and a mystery is something we don’t fully understand, only we know it’s true because God told us. Then tell the story of St. Augustine’s vision about the child, the hole, and the ocean.
Th best analogy I’ve heard for the Trinity (although you can’t have a perfect analogy for the Trinity) is this:
The Holy Trinity is like a flame: there’s tha fire, the light it shows forth and the heat that radiates from it. The flame representing the Father, the light representing the Son, and the heat representing the Holy Ghost.
Of course, I don’t know how easy that would be for 6 year olds to understand.
The best explanation of the Trinity I have heard was in “Theology for Beginners” by Frank Sheed. I would try to summarize it here, but right now I am tired. I recommend anyone wanting to have at least a basic understanding of the Trinity read that book by Sheed.
I teach FHC/2nd grade. It is indeed hard!
I usually print a Trinitarian diagram and let them color it. I also just try to keep the lesson as simple as possible; allow plenty of time for questions. Point out that each time they make the Sign of the Cross they are reminded of this awesome Mystery of Faith!
We use Faith and Light texts and I think they do a good job of explaining.
Thanks for being a Catechist!
I just tell kids that wherever we have one part of the Holy Trinity, they are all there. So when we talk to God the Father, we are also praying to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. When we pray to Jesus, we are also talking to the Father and the Holy Spirit, etc. Jesus said, “The Father and I are one.” And then leave it at that.
My favorite example comes from sister Lucia of Fatima. The Trinity is like an orange. You have the peel that you can grate for cooking, you have the seeds which you plant, and you have the fleshy part that you eat. If you break apart that orange into those three parts, you don’t have three oranges. You still only have one orange. One orange, three distinct parts.