Have you ever wondered what spiritual things a little child is capable of? Oh so much! Let me give you a peek into our world. These are real examples, though not from the same day.
You go into your child’s bedroom in the morning and find your 3-year-old lying awake in bed, singing “O Holy Night.” Okay, this was when Christmas season was here. But how much nicer to hear that than, Jack and Jill or Humpty Dumpty? We do like playing spiritual songs in our house, I have to say.
One morning for her breakfast cereal, you find her offering up some of it to share with her otherworldly friend: “Here guar(d)ian angel” holding up a spoon to the air with some warm rice cereal on it. “Thank you” (That was the angel responding, in case you didn’t notice). Then of course she eats it herself, because of course, angels don’t need real food. I don’t know which of my kids started this habit and it’s not daily, but when it does happen, how sweet!
Later on, helping me in the garden, as I pruned a particularly prickly tree my 3-year-old and I had this conversation about angels. It went something like this, “But it would be okay if an angel got a prickle?” “Yes, they are spirits. They are light. Light can’t hurt a prickle…. Actually, you’re a spirit too.” “But I can still hurt my finger if I bite it (accidentally)?” “Yes These bodies can get hurt so it’s best not to get prickles in your finger or bite them!”
What about when my 3-year-old regretted not going in the car with Daddy to the mailbox? Of course I couldn’t fix the problem, so I playfully suggested that she pop her wings on and go over there. When she said she didn’t have any, I told her how she does have spiritual wings. A few moments later she said, “Angels could say ‘ding’ and I then I could have angel wings” . “Yeah, totally,” I agreed. “Angels could put wings on me, even.” I think this is a good thing for kids to imagine. Now, I’m not exactly expecting her to fly off with angels any moment, but that faith and belief in the higher world, yes, I would like her to develop that.
One late afternoon after a nap my daughter wanted a cuddle so of course I held her close and looked into her eyes most tenderly as we talked about odds and ends. After a few minutes she said, “Mummy, I’m (pre)tending you’re Mother Mary and Jesus is born” (her). Of course I had to smile and say, “Oh,” although at that moment her dinner was ready so off the couch she jumped. It’s not the first time we’ve role played this, and I don’t know where it started but I believe it helps her feel adored and loved and special, like she is. Like each of us is.
For dinner one night she was eating a veggie burger, and, being an avid eater, often eats too quickly. She was reminded not to ‘wolf’ her food down (i.e. gobble it down like a wolf). She smiled and said she wouldn’t. Then she said, “I’ll wolf down nothing then.” I jokingly told her she’ll have a stomach full of nothing then…A couple of minutes later she came out with, “Mummy I’m wolfing God down”. Now, if that doesn’t make you chuckle I don’t know what will!
Then there are the prayers she says at night. “Thank you God for angels” or “Thank you God for eyes.” Or “Thank you God for every single thing.” Or “Thank you God for love.” Who says 3-year-olds can’t pray?
Kids are immensely spiritual. Let’s enjoy it while they are young, and at all ages!
How do you celebrate the spirituality of your children?