Children have such an interesting worldview. Adults often reminisce nostalgically of what life was like without responsibility. We tend to remember the best of our childhoods, or the worst, but we really don’t remember what it was like to think like a child.
If we could “think again” like a child, would we really want to?
When I find myself living in my imagination of childhood, I always think like I do now. When I desire to do something in the past over again, I always want to be able to “redo” it with knowledge and experience I have now. Well, that’s not really fair.
Nonetheless, we cannot go back and do it again. We cannot really remember what it was like to think as a child. It is very difficult to remember how we used to think a year, month, sometimes even a week ago. But sometimes the interaction with our children, or the children of others, gives us a glimpse of our idiosyncratic primitive worldview. Here’s a recent example from my children:
My daughter came running to me crying, and said, “Daddy, my brother hit me.” My two year old son was jumping around in the other room laughing hysterically. I called my son, and asked, “Did you hit your sister?” He coyly looked around, shifting his eyes to avoid direct contact with mine. “Yeah,” he replied. “Now what does the Bible say about that, son?” I asked. “Lub, wun anuder,” he whispers back the best way a two year old can. “Well, son, hitting your sister is not loving and it ultimately is a sin against God to hate your sister. Now, go apologize to her,” I counsel him. As soon as the words left my mouth, in ran my daughter. My son bear hugs her, she lifts him off the ground, they both are giggling happily. Then, as my sons feet hit the floor, he smacks her in the chest with his bare hand and they both run off laughing and playing. My daughter didn’t even notice that he had hit her again.
Did my son even get it? I think yes and no. Yes, he understood that hitting his sister is wrong, but for him, there is a blurry gray line between hitting out of anger and hitting out of play. Apparently, the same goes for my 4 year old daughter’s sense of pain. My wife and I couldn’t help but laugh at the whole scene.
Children think both innocently, and very deviantly, all wrapped up together and they don’t know well how to discern between the two types of thoughts. My wife and I agree that it is our job to help our children think rightly. And we know that disciplining once, twice, or a dozen times probably won’t be enough for their developing minds and hearts to get it. But we have rejoiced on that one hundredth time, when the lights have come on.
Oh that those lights would come on quickly. But until then, may my children continue to enjoy growing in thinking and living. May you learn, as we, to persevere in discipline, and try to laugh a lot too.