Learning Through a Child's Eyes: 1997

Dear Ones,

“Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4). This year we have been enjoying ‘learning through a child’s eyes.”

So many miracles that take place around us are taken as routine except through a child’s perspective of newness, like the enthusiasm of a sprouting seed emerging through the ground, the excitement of seeing a rainbow, the enjoyment of watching a milkweed seed fly in the wind, or the entertainment of throwing stones in a pond. After a thunderstorm and talking about what caused thunder, Joey John wanted to make thunder in a bottle. After planting and watching our garden grow, the boys spent their hungry moments, and not so hungry moments, tasting the plants and vegetables. (Did you know that pea plants taste like pea pods?) After training our boys that they didn’t have to be petrified of our 800 lb steer as it roamed in our front land, they learned that they, including our 2 year old, could “shoot” the cow within a few feet. [Why is it that they seem to go one step farther (or closer) than you want?] After learning to feed the animals, they ‘became’ a dog, cat, goat or cow, eating out of the outside pan beside their respective animal. When told not to eat out of the dog dish, they would say, “But Mom, I am a dog”

Learning includes words---and they are learning. After telling Josiah that a cucumber was ‘over the hill,’ he told someone, “Don’t use that cucumber, it is over the mountain.’ Joey John is constantly I informing me of words that have double meanings, like ‘crack the window.’ The two older boys are always saying, “I found an idea….”, “Isn’t this interesting…” “Actually,…” Joey and I will look at each other and ask, “Where did they hear that?” Jonathan (2) is not to be left behind in  ‘learning.’ Before leaving at the airport, Jonathan was repeating, “Man, man, man,” at the knee cap of his uncle whom he didn’t know his name. Once his message was heard, he moved on to other things. Jonathan’s (2) first sentence was, “Shoot snake” as he would go outside with his ‘rifle’ and his mission.

I wish that I had been so ready with my rifle or shovel. I was picking pole beans, shortly after the baby was born. Shepherd, our dog, was lying in the middle of the aisle. I just picked around him, trying to hurry before the baby woke up. I walked around too the other side of the row. The dog jumped up and ran down the aisle as if he had been stung by a meat bee. Just then, Josiah exclaimed that he saw a snake under the row. By the time we got a shovel, the snake was gone. Our mole that was feasting on our onions earlier in the season was missing. In its place was a snake, a rattlesnake. Josiah told me that we needed to thank God for His protection and we did. Shepherd’s face swelled three times its normal size. After Benadryl and three days’ rest, he was back to himself. We beat the beans before picking to avoid any future bite, but never did find the snake again. The boys would play mole and snake in the garden after that, as I listened and cringed.

Time has a different look from a child’s eyes. “Wait a minute” is a forever time. One son could quote perfectly an incident that happened when he was two years old. I asked him after sitting on a chair for five minutes,  “Why did you have to sit there?” He replied, “I don’t know, five minutes is a long time.”

Learning responsibility has required a family participation. To have dinner ready when Joey comes home from work requires the boys to help entertain the baby, set the table, pick up toys, help me move the goat from the orchard to the kennel (safe from coyotes), and dress for bed. Our responsibilities increased as our goat ‘freshened’ before Thanksgiving. She had a beautiful girl. After returning from vacation, her milk had dried. We are still working to get her reserves back in order to milk her. (That is another story of depending on others to be responsible while we are absent.) The boys also will be helping me with the pigs that we will be getting before Christmas.

A child’s exclamation as he spies the full moon waiting its turn to shine solo. The enthusiasm expressed when he could light a fire. The energy present when Daddy comes home from work. The empathy showed when another has hurt himself. The discovery of finding one’s own feet and squealing with delight (Jonas, 5 months)….Yes, we have been learning and relearning through the eyes of our children.

Learning would not be possible without the ups and down, the trial and error, the frustrations, the repetition, the correction. What better season to consider the humility of a child by remembering the Child that came to give us that newness of life. The Child shared with us the Word. The Child provided for us time eternal with Him. The Child taught responsibility to Him. The Child helped us each step of the learning process of being like Him: To be like a child, to see Him as the God that He is. 

We trust this season brings you closer to being child-like and seeing God clearer as He continues to work with us.

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