Timothy turned 4 back in April, and got some gifts of course! I had him sit down to draw a thank you card for his grandma. I went to the bathroom and when I came back he had drawn this:
My first thought was “F. U. is not a good thank you card”, even though his Grammie is very understanding. But when he explained it to me, it was through the eyes of a 4 year old that can’t pronounce his th’s. Hence, his attempt to spell “Fank” resulted in a “f” and then a “c” for the k sound.
I kept these things in my heart until a few days ago when he drew this beauty and asked if he drew a 6:
If you’ve taken high school biology then you are picturing something very different than a number less than 10.
The theme from these stories is perspective. Sometimes I get so frustrated with Timothy for not obeying or for doing something I see as destructive. But instead of yelling and giving time outs all the time, when I ask him to see the world from his eyes, his reasons are never malicious. And then it becomes a teaching moment. The number 6 is not sperm. Thank you is spelled with a “th.” You cannot hang on the window shades because it will break them. I know you think you are a construction vehicle, but I told you not to forklift the piles of clothes I’ve already folded because then I will have to fold them all over again. You cannot feed your baby brother a chicken nugget because he will choke. Etc. Etc.
Communication is the key to any good relationship, and the same holds true with parents and children.
“Train a boy in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not swerve from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NAB
“Do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instructions of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 NAB
Lately Timothy has been really into coloring. It’s usually spaceships and helicopters, although the other day he told me he wrote the word “unicorn” in his scribbles. Of course, everything on the paper is indecipherable to me until he tells me what it is. But I still think it is beautiful art and proudly hang it on the fridge, since it’s the best he can do and he’s doing it out of love. As his mom, I think he’s a great artist!
And I’ve been thinking lately about a talk on praise and worship I heard when I was in youth ministry (and before I had kids), where the speaker compared us giving our worship to God to a child giving his scribbled art to his proud mom or dad. It doesn’t matter how flowy and wordy our prayers are or how beautiful we sing at Mass, it just matters that we are sincerely doing our best and are doing it out of love for God. It’s our offering that counts, and God our Father thinks it’s wonderful!
Worship, meaning adoration and honor given to God, puts us in our place to recognize that God is God and we are His creation. “Prayer of praise is entirely disinterested and rises to God, lauds him, and gives him glory for his own sake, quite beyond what he has done, but simply because HE IS. (CCC 2649) “By praise, the Spirit is joined to our spirits to bear witness that we are children of God.” (CCC 2639)
When we are able to pray and to worship as children of God, we are put back into the right relationship with Him, to see ourselves dependent upon him for our needs and desires. And God who is our Father wants to give us, his children, good things!! (Mt 7:11) Being a parent has given me a priceless gift to understand God as my Father. I want to have a childlike faith where my praise and worship of my Creator is like Timothy’s drawings – pure, simple, and the best I can do.