At the breakfast table last week our four-year-old says to me,
“Mum, I had a dream last night, that Jesus smashed into the earth and it shook and wobbled”.
“Oh, that’s interesting,” I responded.
Then I asked her, “So what happened to our house, darling?”
“Our house was fine Mum, because Jesus can come in the front door,” she said.
The spiritual language of the child is so refreshing and simple, yet it conveys strong images and concrete principles. Children move from the transcendent to reality so easily. They have such closeness with God that they are unafraid to move between these two realities.
Children lead us in this; we can learn from them.
As an adult, I need a structured community life that keeps me accountable in seeking God’s presence in my everyday life, a mentor, a spiritual director and a fellowship around me keep my whole life’s perspective open to God. A child, however, will spontaneously proclaim the Good News to all who will hear.
Two stories I’ve heard of lately are of a four-year-old Prep student boldly teaching his mum about the parable of the mustard seed from the back seat on their way home from school, and a two-year-old who got the attention of a crowd of 30 when she saw a painting on the wall, “Look everyone, it’s Mary and baby Jesus”. It’s the gift of preaching in action.
Our nine-year-old’s imagination was open to visualising what it meant when the parish priest proclaimed the Good News that “… you will do even greater things than these”. She came home and drew these words on paper and stuck it on the wall in our home.
Is this word for her alone or for the household?
Do we welcome our children’s Word?
Parents need to receive the gift of their child’s proclamation of the Good News. It will come in many forms, it will come spontaneously and it will be freely given. As a community of adults around children, how are we welcoming the child, their word and their testimony? We need to know and receive both the child and their gift.
Children give us, in their very nature, delight, joy, tenderness, friendship and community as they grow up around us.
I ponder how often I have gotten cross at my children and fractured our relationship. However, children offer much hope that my relationship with them is restored again and again. My children show me forgiveness and acceptance. To me, they demonstrate the nature of God.