Like it or not, a child’s caregivers mirror God’s character in the child’s eyes. No doubt you’ve been part of conversations like this:
My 3-year-old asked me something–I’ve forgotten the exact question–but it was something I didn’t know the answer to. So I told him, ‘Hunter, I don’t know the answer to that question.’
As if he hadn’t heard me, he asked the same question again. Again I said, ‘I told you already; Daddy doesn’t know the answer to that question.’
‘Yes you do, Daddy,’ he said with confidence, ‘you know everything! Now tell me the answer!’
Obviously it sorts itself out and children grow to grasp the reality that my parents are only human.
Yet a spiritual component remains in effect.
The way caregivers express their values and emotions “wires” the child’s brain for the way children will perceive their higher power.
As a father held his crying little daughter in his arms, one of his statements to her was, “God knows we are sad when we lose something we like, but he promises to hold us just like I’m holding you right now.”
A mother of two explains how she understands the mirror image.
Let’s say Sally is crying because she has scraped her knee. An empathetic parent would come to her aid asking how she is doing rather than curtly telling her to stop crying like a baby. This child feels understood and connected, and the universe makes sense to her.
Author Curt Thompson states, “This mindful approach to the emotional state of a child literally prepares a template at a neurological level that enables the child to grow into an awareness of a God who also cares about his or her joys, hurts, fears and mistakes.”
The child ultimately is able to envision God as responsible and trustworthy and that the world is safe, despite the apparent contradictions.
When you consider this idea, do you feel increased frustration or increased hope?
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