Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Theology for Toddlers

I've often commented on this blog about the relentless questioning that comes from my eldest son Joshua, and I've often commented that in this respect he's very much like me. We both question everything and we both like answers to those questions. At times, those answers are great in order to solve a problem and sometimes they're great as they give fuel to a further question. At times it drives others mad!

Today, however, I was met with questioning from another source. My three year old son, Samuel. He is currently fascinated by the existence of God and has, in my opinion, offered up some pretty plausible queries regarding God, His purpose, His will, His residence and His presence.

He started by asking where God was. That was easy - Heaven. He followed this by asking where Heaven was, so the optimum answer to any child for this one is up in the sky. But then Sam asked that if God was in Heaven, how could He be all around us? How could He be on Earth AND in Heaven? Try explaining that to a three year old. The best I could come up with was that He lived in Heaven, but could see us and loved us and in that way He was with us - like when Mummies and Daddies are at work, but they think about their children while they're there and still love them and care for them, but are not actually with them physically. He kind of got this. He totally understood that God is invisible but then went on to ask whether it's because He wore a cloak like Harry Potter! It's funny, but extremely clever of him to use that comparison to understand the seemingly impossible.

Then he asked when we were allowed to go to Heaven. I wasn't comfortable telling a three year old that entry to Heaven was upon death. So I told him that God takes us when He wants us to be there. Sam's response to this was that God would have to come down to Earth to collect us and decided that He'd need a space ship, a space suit (complete with helmet so He could breathe), and time to pack our stuff because if we didn't take food and drink to Heaven we'd die. I was amazed at the imagery my three year old son was conjuring up in his attempt to understand the complexities of spirituality, Christianity and faith. THREE YEARS OLD!!!

The presence of aliens was then explored. Did God let aliens into Heaven? We discussed whether aliens were real or just pretend and he concluded that aliens were real but they lived on another planet and only people from Earth were allowed into Heaven.

God is also in charge of us was another conclusion he reached, along with the query that if God was in charge of all of us, who was in charge of God?

It was at this point that another of his fascinations came into view - the woods. The conversation, as with all youngsters ended abruptly and moved to another question - can you find crocodiles in the woods?

Isn't it wonderful how our children's minds work? Isn't it fantastic that we have the ability to help form their opinions and enter into their worlds momentarily to share their fascination, unravel their confusion and be three years old, just for a few minutes?

It's times like this I really treasure being a mother. It's times like this I wish I could snap my fingers and hold time still, just for a few moments to capture the wonder of my little boy and his amazing mind. It's times like this I don't want him to grow up, but I know he has to and I know that if he continues to be the little treasure he is now, he'll be like his brother - always questioning, always asking, always learning and growing to be a remarkable young man. I thank God for the gift of my children and I thank Him for the joy they bring me.


margaret (the misanthrope) said...

Fascinating!! Youngsters have such wonderful creativity and vivid imaginations. I wonder where it goes when we all grow up :-)

TxGambit said...

Wow. He is such a clever, smart little boy. It is amazing. I would love to hold time too. I wish I could go back now and enjoy some of those early moments just one more time.... just for a moment.