The inherent intelligence and ability of children
A Christian Science perspective: Where does wisdom come from?
It is refreshing to hear from two well-known American women representing opposing political parties that they may find agreement “on an approach to education that views children in a whole new light” (“Why Melania Trump may have liked Michelle Obama’s speech,” CSMonitor.com).
Speaking of the generic term man – including all men, women and children – Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this publication, wrote, “We know no more of man as the true divine image and likeness, than we know of God” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 258). To me, this means that in order to “view children in a whole new light,” we must take a deeper look at God.
The Bible repeatedly refers to God as the source of wisdom, justice, truth, and intelligence. In the book of Psalms, we read, “The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (Psalms 33:11). From the inspiration that came through her study of the Bible, Mary Baker Eddy defined “God,” in part, as “... the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal;...” (Science and Health, p. 587). Recognizing God as the all-knowing, all-wise creator of each individual, therefore each child, we see that every one of us already has and can increasingly express the understanding, discernment, and perception of our Father-Mother God – or divine Mind, another biblically derived term for God in Christian Science.
Solomon, the son of David, succeeded his father as king at a young age. In a dream, Solomon laments to God, “I am but a little child:... Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people ...” (I Kings 3:7, 9). Solomon possessed the wisdom to turn to God, his divine Parent, to ask for “an understanding heart” to be able to govern. Later it is recorded that all the people of Israel “saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment” and that “he was wiser than all men ...” (I Kings 3:28 and I Kings 4:31). It was clear that God was the source of Solomon’s wisdom.
We, too, can recognize God as the source of intelligence. This fact became apparent to me after I failed my first test in college. In praying about it afterward, a great “aha” moment came when I realized that I didn’t need to somehow cram everything I learned in school into my limited understanding. Sure, I needed to go to classes, study, do my homework, and come prepared for each class or test. But even more important, I needed to spiritually understand the source of my true intelligence and abilities. Knowing that divine Mind was my forever source gave me confidence throughout my years as a student, whether I was taking an exam or praying about how to pay for college. It did away with excuses of lack and limitation – doubts about whether I was good enough, intelligent enough, or had enough money, time, or sleep. By acknowledging God as my ever-present guide and boundless source of good, I was led to understand everything I needed to know and do in a timely fashion. I even graduated with high honors.
Christ Jesus pointed to the truth that God, and not we ourselves, is the source of intelligence, when he said, “I can of mine own self do nothing:...” (John 5:30). As the image and likeness of God – infinite and unlimited divine Mind – each of us reflects the qualities of God in perception, discernment, creativity, and ability. Children can recognize this, and parents and those who love and work with children everywhere can acknowledge, cherish, nurture, and encourage these qualities.
Mary Baker Eddy writes, “God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis” (Science and Health, p. 258). And the prophet Isaiah promises, “I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring” (Isaiah 44:3). Keeping these facts in mind opens the way for specific, tangible, and practical means to find the right path. It sets each of us free to broaden qualities we already possess and develop and enhance new ones through the infinite resources of eternal Mind.