From the Mouths of Babes
"And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?" (Matthew 21:16)
Children are very animated and expressive about things they love. They also have very literal interpretations of the world around them and say things that are just plain funny to adults. When our kids were little, I would share funny things they said with friends and family. One friend always told me, "You need to write these down!" I did not heed her advice often enough, and some of those comedic childhood conversations have slipped from memory.
Kids are also keenly observant and sometimes say things so shockingly insightful and serious that it can leave big people with mouths agape. I remember one such poignant moment with my daughter clearly to this day. She was about 2 years old. As a relatively newly minted parent, I often was consumed with thoughts of our responsibility to share God with her. He seemed such a big concept for her little mind to grasp, and I wondered if we could do it effectively enough that she would believe and serve Him someday.
We always read bedtime stories, and this particular night, we read from a toddler's Bible that one of her grandparents had given as a gift. We read through several New Testament stories, and she seemed fully engrossed and engaged. When I said it was time to go to sleep, she begged me to read more. My head said it was clearly a stalling tactic, but something in my heart indulged her and we kept going.
We arrived at the last story in the book, where Jesus was with his disciples on a mountain, about to ascend back to heaven. When He announced his departure, she suddenly gripped my arm and was very distraught as she said, "Nooooooo mommy! He can't leave us!"
I was taken aback at her identification with the story and her distress at Jesus leaving. My heart hammered in my chest, as I realized I was the one who just learned something. I believe God's spirit touched our little girl's heart that day to show me that although it was our job to present the opportunity for her to hear the gospel, God is the one who convicts our hearts.
To this day, this incident reminds me of the hymn, "Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word. Tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard."
We give our children many opportunities as they grow, opportunities to participate in team sports, learn musical instruments, pursue their passions, each one developing discipline and lessons along the way. As years went on, I knew my husband and I weren't alone and saw truth in the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." There are many people who have influenced our children — extended family, friends, coaches and teachers. One of the key villagers in your children's lives is their Sunday school teacher.
In the spirit of appreciating and capturing what kids learn in this special spiritual environment, we are reaching out to Sunday school teachers on a monthly basis with a "Kid's Question of the Month." They will collect responses, which we'll share with all of you. Stay tuned and be prepared to be entertained and amazed!
If you're a Sunday school teacher...
and you'd like to participate in this monthly column by asking the kids in your class a few questions and reporting their responses back to us, then please contact us, and we'll include you. Everyone is welcome (that goes for MBA and VBS and Little Ladies' Circle teachers too)!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.