The other day didn't start out well. My sixth-grade daughter discovered she wasn't even remotely prepared for class - she had forgotten to complete her homework. My first-grade son was caught lying about something trivial, and got yelled at in the bargain by yours truly.
Nobody felt much better during the drive to school, and I had to drop them off before we could reach any kind of resolution. Feeling bad about not having done a better job at getting their day off to a good start, I did the only thing I could do. I prayed for them.
We can't always make things right for our kids by taking direct action. Sometimes we are not right at their side; other times it's just not a good idea to butt in. Sometimes we've made a mistake, and it seems they suffer for it. But we can always help by turning our thought to God. God certainly is with them. He is omnipresent - never across town. He's omnipotent - never overworked or time-pressured. He's omniscient - never in doubt about what action to take. In fact, He's got everything covered already.
A mother in the Bible faces a circumstance considerably more tragic than mine, but the lesson is still applicable (see II Kings, Chap. 4). While out in the field with his father, a child becomes sick. The father orders the servants to take him to his mother. The illness proves to be fatal.
What the mother does next is astonishing to me. She lays the boy on a bed in a room reserved for the visiting prophet Elisha. She then leaves the house to go to see Elisha herself. We can almost picture her in her determination that death will not have the final word. Elisha returns with her and revives the child through prayer. The mother's trust in the power of God to restore her child is well founded.
Prayer brings evidence that we each have an indestructible relationship to God. Referring to all children of God, the textbook of Christian Science says: "God is the creator of man, and, the divine Principle of man remaining perfect, the divine idea or reflection, man, remains perfect. Man is the expression of God's being. If there ever was a moment when man did not express the divine perfection, then there was a moment when man did not express God, and consequently a time when Deity was unexpressed - that is, without entity. If man has lost perfection, then he has lost his perfect Principle, the divine Mind. If man ever existed without this perfect Principle or Mind, then man's existence was a myth" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, pg. 470).
The acknowledgment of these facts helps in small and large ways. In my own case, I continued to pray; I opened my thought to receive whatever God had for me to hear. And the message I got was this: These children were the unlimited expressions of good. They were perfect, capable, complete. Their day could include only the wonderful expression of what God had in store for them. It was really God's perfect day, in spite of the way the morning had gone. God had always been there, and He was with them now.
After contemplating these ideas, I felt a broad sense of peace that covered everything, including my children at their school across town. I was certain of their inherent perfection.
When I picked my kids up that afternoon, I asked how the day had gone. My daughter was all smiles - her teacher had revised their study plan, and she hadn't been late with her work after all. My son got a good mark for behavior in his logbook for the first time in several days. They had had their good day, after all.
What has also meant a lot to me is this: the next time our morning heated up to the boiling point, I was able to pull things together before I dropped them off at school. Remembering to see them as God's perfect expression, rather than untrained or flawed mortals, has continued to save the day on a number of occasions.
We do not need to wait for our kids to become little angels before starting to identify them as complete, whole, and perfect. God has already established the spiritual facts of their being. Let's get better at opening our eyes to see it!
Find in-depth articles on family relationships in a monthly magazine, The Christian Science Journal.