Monday, September 8, 2008

Toddler theology

Toddler theology

            One ordinary day, as we waited for our fast-food, my four-year-old daughter started licking her shoes. “Honey! Don’t lick your shoes!” I said. “Do you have any idea how many germs live on the bottom of your shoes?”
            To my surprise, she suddenly became very serious. “Germs?”
            “Yes!” I said, sensing that this time she might actually listen to this lecture. “Your shoes pick up germs when you walk, and if you put them in your mouth they could make you very sick!”
            “Oh."  She stared at me with wide eyes.  "Do my hands have germs now?”
            “Yes, in fact, let’s wash them before we eat.” I got out the hand sanitizer, wondering why the idea of germs seemed to be such a surprise when I know I had given this lecture at least a dozen other times. 
            Meanwhile, she continued to worry aloud about germs in other places. "Are germs in my hair? The car? My shorts? The food? My carseat? My books? The dog?"  With each affirmative answer from me, the panic in her voice grew a tiny bit more. Finally, she sighed and asked, “Mommy, why did God make germs?”
            That’s a tough one, I thought. “Well, it’s just part of living in a fallen world honey. There won’t be any germs in heaven.”
            Her eyes grew wide and she smiled, “So we can lick our shoes in heaven?”
            “Well… I guess so.”  I said, finding no better way to use the teachable moment.  Her eyes were sparkling, and as she looked out the window with a smile on her face, I could tell she was thinking of all the great things she will be able to lick in heaven when there are no germs to worry about.  Even if I had more to say on that subject, she wouldn’t have heard a word. 
            Later that night, I overheard a disagreement between my daughters.  After several minutes of bickering, I heard my four-year-old said loudly “Yes you can lick your shoes in heaven, Mommy said so!”
            "No, you can not!” yelled my oldest daughter, obviously taken aback by the impropriety of the idea.  My husband looked at me sideways, probably wondering what in the world I am teaching his children all day.   All I could do was laugh uncontrollably.  
            It is no easy job, as a mother of small children, to bring Biblical truth into a child's world.  God gives us beautiful Scriptural Truth, but as we paint it into the lives of our children, sometimes the pictures look a little strange.  May our eyes be open to those moments when we can bring heavenly truth into our earthly days.  And may we have the wisdom to laugh when the combination looks a bit ridiculous.

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