Helping children learn about God's care
Do you remember the first time you saw snow? Or sifted it through your fingers? Beautiful. Soft. Cool. Fresh. Unbelievable!
I watched a 15-month-old baby lean out of a sled the other day, take off a glove, and carefully touch the snow that covered the yard. Her eyes widened. She didn't know whether to be happy or afraid.
Perhaps you live in a place where there's no snow, but you've seen the ocean. Did you ever ask where all that water comes from? Where the ocean ends? And what makes the waves?
If there's no ocean where you live, maybe you remember the first time you played with a wriggly puppy or held a kitten in your arms and felt its soft, warm fur.
Think of the first time you saw lots and lots of stars, or the moon rising like a huge white soccer ball over the horizon, or your first rainbow. The moment you found your balance on a bike. Learned to read all by yourself! Or knew for the first time that God loves you.
I remember when I learned that God loves me - and also how easy it is to love Him back. It was when I took my first big tests at school. I was so nervous I couldn't even think straight. It was important that I did well, so that I could win a scholarship and make it easier for Mom and Dad to pay my school fees.
Dad spoke with me that morning and said, "The only question you really need to answer today is, Do you love God 'with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength'?" He was reading that out of the Bible (see Deut. 6:5).
"God knows everything," he explained, "and when you love Him in that way, you'll find you already have all you need to pass those tests well: intelligence, alertness, confidence, calmness."
I liked what Dad said, and while I was reading through the test questions, I tried to love God with all my strength, listen hard for His ideas, and thank Him with all my heart for being so close and so helpful.
You know, I almost couldn't believe it, but those tests were a piece of cake! I knew nearly all the answers, and my thoughts and my pen got into a real race. And, yes, you've guessed it. I got that scholarship.
Little kids are really excited to learn new things. And even though I wasn't little then, that's how I began to feel about the Bible.
For me, coming to know the stories in the Bible was like reaching up for the first time to try to catch those dancing white snowflakes.
What's especially cool about the words in the Bible is that they can be caught. And I don't mean by just grabbing pages of the book.
God's love for you is expressed in the Bible in what I call "thought words." When you learn to pray to God in the way the people in the Bible prayed to Him - by understanding how powerful and reliable and available He is - the thoughts behind the words take care of you. They heal you and make you happy - even if you haven't learned to read yet.
It's also fine if you just hear someone else say the thought words, or sing songs and hymns that have them, or practice them by doing things differently in school or on the playground or at home.
You know what? God's thought words are even more exciting than that first snowflake, or star, or rainbow. And you can always reach them. They belong to everyone - in any country, and at any season of the year. They never lose their wonder. And they're always there to guide and heal - and help us pass tests!
The ideas in this article are explored more fully in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society