My kids know - from day care.
Between the two of them, they were in 10 different child-care situations before the age of five. The stresses and changes in my life - divorce, moving across country, several different jobs - required their care situations to change frequently as well.
So, the in light of the recent study about the effect of early day-care influences on children, I asked my daughter and son (14 and 9 now) if they thought all those changes had left any kind of scar.
They stared at me blankly.
The next thing I knew, I was being treated to memory upon memory of the various places they'd been - memories that were delightfully detailed and genuinely joyous. It was obvious that they'd approached their multiple relocations with a sense of adventure, taking full advantage of the positives and not being discouraged by the negatives.
I don't think we were just "lucky." Something was going on that sustained us during all those changes. Let's call it "divine day care." God is who I turned to for every need, and I turned to that care daily. I believe this care is available for everyone, in every city or town, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no matter how much money you have or what your job requires.
For me, turning to God is not just a blithe "Oh, the kids will be fine no matter what I do" approach. It's based on the conviction - born of study and experience - that everyone, including the three of us, has a direct connection with God, the source of all care.
That direct connection is an important element. I had lots of decisions to make when my kids were young, and I didn't really have the experience yet to know what I was doing. But when a genuine connection to the Divine informed my decisions, the result was always good. When the Decisionmaker is infinitely good, good must flow from these decisions to everyone involved. Another way to say this is, The good that God sends to one person (me) can't be a source of harm for someone else (the kids).
One of the things I had to decide on was my career. It was my dream to pursue a career in the film industry - a risky venture at best. But I was always wondering how I'd do. Eventually I realized I had to stop agonizing about it. I brought the whole thing to God, through a deep prayer of yearning. This involved humble, receptive listening for a spiritual idea.
The answers came and were very comforting. In essence I heard: "Follow your dream. It will bring you closer to Me. As for your children, I am caring for them, even as I am caring for you. Let Me hold your hand, and I will be with you all, all the time."
I went forward on the strength of that assurance, but also ready to listen if new ideas came. The journey in (and out) of the film business was indeed the road I needed to take to learn more about my closeness to God. And that divine Love would never stop caring for all of us, all the time.
Now, that doesn't mean our little threesome didn't have things to work out. Each time a change was necessary, we had to be flexible, to adjust our ways, to be tolerant of different approaches. Sometimes I didn't know what we'd be doing the next day. But I had an underlying trust in divine Love that the kids could feel, too. Apparently, they took that trust with them wherever they went.
Feeling connected at all times to good, to God, has served my family well in the years since then, both when the kids had to change grade schools and when I changed jobs and location. Although the landscape and traveling companions shifted frequently, the constant on our journey has always been an awareness of and dependence on divine Love's constant care.
If you're facing day-care dilemmas, you can take comfort in this: God is directing you, too. By quiet, trustful listening, you will know where your child should be. One way or another, you'll find that we're all in the same place - in the daily care of divine Love.
Willingness to become
as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought
receptive of the advanced idea.
Mary Baker Eddy
(founder of the Monitor)
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor