Vol 1, Num 2 :: 2002.09.27 — 2002.10.10
My children often say things that surprise my wife and me. When they see things for which they have no words, they invent words or expressions. “Sock feathers” is my daughter’s invention. Sock feathers are what grow between our toes sometimes, when our socks leave lint behind. We discover our sock feathers when we take our socks off at the end of the day. “Look Daddy! Sock feathers!” And so it is that our words take flight.
In the way that our children speak of things, we learn about trust and love. Not everyone is called to be a parent, but for some of us parenting is a particular kind of blessing. In the innocence, trust, and love that our children bring into our lives, we can be healed of our past wounds. Our past hurts can be made right. I am convinced that God has been working in that way in my life, and I praise Him for it.
Humankind’s first task was the naming of things. At that Genesis time of innocence and trust, we did the job well. Later, we grew too proud of ourselves, and tried to build a tower that expressed our might and wisdom. How sure of ourselves we were! God saw us, though, for what we really were then, and he sees us now for what we are. In our pride we are sure we are right; but actually our words can be confused. When my son reaches up, touches my chin, and says simply, “You’re my Dad,” his words are full for me in a way that no adult words can be. That fullness speaks about our relationship, and it reminds me of the purity of the Aaronic blessing, and the openness of biblical speech. “Let your yes be yes, and your no, no.” So it is when I tell my children I love them, and so it is that I seek to speak to my Lord. God’s Shalom is given to us through his Word, and his Word is the person of Jesus our Savior.
Children are closer to the Kingdom in important ways. We have heard many times the story of Christ asking his disciples to let the children come to him, and we know we too are meant to go to Christ as little children. When we kneel before our Father God, we struggle to cast off our Babel pride. The words are important, but how we say them is more so. How often are we truly able to pray like little children? As I listen to my children talk about God, and sing to Him, I am encouraged to speak the truth in love.
Sometimes, we “wiser” adults are amused and even condescending about our children’s ways of speaking. My daughter once asked, “If Jesus is God’s son, who is His wife?” We laughed because her directness surprised us, but we also learned something joyful about words. Her way of speaking was a happy correction. May you also find sock feathers between your toes.