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erika
08-18-2006, 05:34 PM
An article I wrote when I was more faithful than I am now.

LESSONS FROM A FOUR-YEAR OLD
My oldest daughter Lauren is four now and I really enjoy this age. Beyond the tantrums of the terrible twos but still young enough to think mom’s opinion matters, Lauren’s now mostly independent but still likes to cuddle up with me at night. And at the ripe age of four, she seems to be teaching me as much as I teach her. Maybe more.

My husband thinks it’s odd, but I talk to Lauren a lot during the day. When I mean talk, I don’t mean just about colors or numbers, but about my personal struggles and confusion. Yes, this probably does seem strange, but being at home with the kids all day and often missing my hard-working husband at night, I need someone’s ear and Lauren has always been a willing listener.

I remember one time I was reading a book by a brilliant Christian theologian about the “Cost of Discipleship”. The title pretty much says it all but this book had me at my wits end, wondering if my salvation was secure and if God, if Jesus, really wanted as much from us as the author portrayed.

Thinking I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t, I looked at Lauren in confusion one day and asked her, “What does Jesus want from us?”

Her response was simple. “Mommy,” she said, “Jesus wants me to take my shorts off because my shorts are too tight.” I looked at her with a smile and Lauren repeated, “My shorts are too tight. Jesus loves me. He doesn’t want my shorts to be too tight.”

All the degrees, all the theological research in the world cannot capturethe essence of the gospel better than that statement. Here I am thinking that a lengthy exposition of the Sermon on the Mount will deepen my understanding of God, when all along my 4-year old daughter understands Him better than I.

I’ve now begun to solicit Lauren’s advice on non-theological issues. My mom and I had a falling out recently and while I was stewing over my mother’s bad conduct, I looked at Lauren and asked her, “What should I do about Meema?” Lauren’s advice?

“Mommy, you shouldn’t be angry with her. She’s my Meema.” Now how do I argue with that?

Am I alleging that my child is somehow a brilliant psychoanalyst at four? No. She’s just a child, an average, normal four-year old girl who can grasp the simplest concepts which we adults seem to overcomplicate. They get it, our kids. They understand much more about the world than we often assume. I think sometimes God speaks to me through my four-year old. He tells me the hard, simple truth I frequently try to confuse.

I don’t know whether it’s right or wrong to talk to your preschooler about serious life issues. But I feel strangely comforted by her words and I think she likes knowing her opinion counts. Lauren’s lessons make me smile and keep me humble. I for one need a lot of both. How about you?

Roger J Carlson
08-18-2006, 06:10 PM
Better in what sense? Could you sell this to a "Chicken Soup for the Whatever Soul"? Probably. Does it accomplish what you were trying to accomplish in the other sample? No.

There is no "better" between these two styles? Which is better: rock-and-roll or classical music? My preference is for classical, but that doesn't make it better in any sort of universal sense.

If your goal is to be a published Christian writer at any cost, then this would be the better choice. But if your goal is to write and sell what is important to you, then this is not better (especially if this is no longer how you feel).

But my guess is that if you tried to write like this and your heart wasn't in it, then you'd fail. Spiritual writing has to come from the genuine heart.

I wish you all the best in your struggles.

Nateskate
08-18-2006, 08:38 PM
I admit, I like Joyce Myers annecdotal wit. She uses things along these lines to talk about honesty, hypocracy, growth and Christian outlook. So, I'd say that using this kind of teaching tool can be effective. My gut feeling is that you can build on this idea- it's not quite done.

In a sense, it sounds to me like you have the right springboard...don't want to be false/hypocritical, pretending to be something you're not, which is consistent with Jesus teachings. The jump is taking it to the next level like Joyce does, and from things you say, you're headed in that direction.