Yesterday morning two of our grandchildren visited for a few minutes in our office. Both started working busily just as their parents and grandparents were doing. The younger one pushed an army vehicle around on the floor and called me over to hook something up to the “trailer hitch” on the back. He was satisfied when I hooked up a toy doll carriage. Later he played with Larry the Cucumber.
The older one set up a “campfire” (which looked exactly like a My Little Pony® sandbox to me). The Playmobile® couple were the “adults”; they sat in the only chairs. Mermaids sat in the My Little Pony® playpen. The three soft dolls who live in the thirty-year-old plastic dollhouse with its hodgepodge of furniture came to the campfire (I wish you could see these beautiful dolls I bought from a teenage girl at a young entrepreneur booth at a homeschool convention in Kansas City). One of the soft dolls lay in the dollhouse bed my parents gave Bethany 25 years ago beside a My Little Pony.® Here’s the scene.
I am guessing that you wouldn’t have known that all these “people” were sitting around a campfire unless I told you so. My granddaughter knew exactly what was happening. I only know because by the time she finished, I was beside her on the floor.
An adult may see a bunch of toys on the floor when a child sees people gathered around a campfire.
An adult may see a bunch of leaves lying on an outdoor play structure when a child sees the “food” he has stored up for the winter (I know because one of my grandchildren did exactly that a few months ago).
And, as we know, an adult may see squiggly lines on paper when a child sees . . . well, whatever his imagination imagines.
As I said in my post yesterday, God created every child in His image. One of the first realizations I had when I became a mother was that this little baby, whom I loved with a love beyond what I could have imagined before, was a person God created just as I was and that I must always treat him with kindness, gentleness, and respect.
I am my children’s mother and it is God’s will that they respect me. My children are a gift from God and it is God’s will that I love them. Our relationship is based on an order that God established and that will never change. The same is true for my mother and me. She is my mother. I am disobeying God if I do not respect her. It goes beyond respect, too. I am to honor her.
I believe in the need for clear boundaries for children. How could we ever drive to the grocery store if the rules about when to stop and go and how fast to drive and which side of the road to drive on were always changing? Think of the children who never really know what the rules are because in their experience the rules are unclear, always changing, and enforced haphazardly, if at all.
At the same time, I believe in loving, respecting, and honoring children enough to respect their campfires on the floor.
Honor your father and mother
(which is the first commandment with a promise),
so that it may be well with you,
and that you may live long on the earth.
. . . encourage the young women
. . . to love their children.