Introducing our Children to God's Wonder-full World
Escaping the man made world which imprisons so many of us.
God made a wonder full world for us and for our children …tiny bugs in the grass, super speedy humming birds, magnificent trees, and an endless parade of flowers, flowers, flowers. God's world proclaims LIFE, BEAUTY, HARMONY, CONNECTEDNESS, everything we need. In contrast the world most of us and our children have chosen is a world of tv, music that hurts our ears, and endless hand held games, a world of souless isolation, speed, confusion and pointlessness. Following are five SIMPLE things to help us and our children rediscover the world God uses to heal and nurture us.
1. Every child should have a magnifying glass. It turns even the smallest bit of lawn into a wonder-full jungle of tiny bugs and flowers, little mushrooms and tiny seeds. It turns the human body into bits of hair and pores, wrinkles, big lips and funny looking eyes. There is nothing to help introduce creation so well as a magnifying glass or inexpensive microscope.
These are the children who will become doctors, plant breeders, and a few, the curious ones, researchers.
2. Every child should have at least one collection, his or her own museum. If it fits between the pages of a book or in an egg carton museum (you can keep it in your room until it starts to smell) things like: rocks, seeds and seed pods, bark from a tree, sea shells, acorns etc.. If it is alive you can keep it till dark in a peanut butter jar covered with a bit of nylon stocking and a rubber band. If it is a lightening bug you can keep it until midnight.
3. Painting with flowers. Give each child a few petals at a time and show them how to crush the petals between a thumb and forefinger until they are juicy. Then rub the colored juice on a piece of paper. There is something about this that thrills everyone who does it…perhaps a reminder of how Jesus was bruised so his life could flow into us. Rather than steal flowers from the neighbor invest in a small bouquet OR wait till Monday, the day every flower shop in the country pitches their old flowers. In nearly all cases the shop is willing to donate these old flowers to parents or teachers. Painting with flowers helps a child connect God the creator to the world around him. He or she will see flowers, all of creation, in a new way…guaranteed.
4. Walking is a great model for relating to our children. It helps us view them as fellow travelers and not simply more baggage we tow through life. We hope the following suggestions provide at least a few thoughts for adding variety to your daily walk and making it a joy that bonds parent and child to one another and to our creator.
The number of walks is endless: Backward walks, blindfolded walks, speed walks, camera walks, v-e-r-y slow man on the moon walks, bird watching walks, magnifying glass walks, walks in the rain, (no matter what kind of walk I always take and umbrella because of dogs. Open the umbrella in front of a dog and he runs away), star gazing walks, listening walks where you take twenty steps and close your eyes and listen, sunset walks, sunrise walks, cloud gazing walks, and last of all on Sunday a "Thank you God" for your wonderful world walk.
Without a parents sincere daily effort most children will never know what it is like to be immersed in the world God made for us…a daily dunk where they are free to touch and examine…to enjoy the wonders of the earth, wonders God intends for each of us. Walking just five minutes a day is a perfect first step to knowing God and the world he made…just for us.
5. Tire Garden. Two key lessons for children who try a garden are: If you want to pick flowers you have to plant seeds and if you want to harvest God's promises you have to plant faith. Almost any service station will give a child an old tire. Fill it with potting soil (garden soil is cheaper but does not work nearly as well). For a lesson on planting and harvest plant 5 or six cucumber seeds or a tomato plant. To draw butterflies and caterpillars sprinkle your garden with dill seed and maybe a butterfly plant or two (aesclepias tuberosa). For instructions on an easy to make butterfly hatchery visit www.bibleparent.com and click on "Creation for Parents". May you plant "Hope" and harvest "Joy".
May one or more of these activities help your family break through the artificial barriers…
Electronic games, television and busy-ness…that keep you and your children from experiencing the world God meant for us all, a world of harmony and growth, a world of living things, a world of planting and harvesting.
Charles White is a retired preschool teacher with a lifelong interest in living things. View other activities for children and White's "Nature Art" at www.bibleparent.com and click on "Creation for Parents".