Teaching children the faith is not easy. And at times, many times, it seems that no matter how hard we work on teaching our children about the truth and beauty of Christ that it goes in one ear and out the other. I have often wondered “will my children ever get it? Really get it?” But then, The Holy Spirit brings a beautiful moment when I am surprised, and in turn reminded that God’s merciful grace is at work .
This past week, the debate at my house landed upon whether or not one of our new rabbits could be named Allison. You see, Allison was the name of a chicken we had last year that was tragically eaten by a hungry snake one unsuspecting afternoon. As I attempted to counsel the kids about whether or not it was appropriate to re-use the name, I suddenly found myself in the midst of a story about Allison the chicken and her sacrifice for the family.
According to my six-year old daughter, Allison did not just die, but sacrificed herself. My daughter dramatically declared, “Allison did not die, but sacrificed herself because she loved the other chickens.” “Really,” I exclaimed. “Yes,” she went on, “She loved them so much she gave her life for them.”
You and I know that Allison the chicken did not have the mind to reason in a way to fully understanding the sacrifice of oneself for the saving of others. However, this tall tale, which coincidentally came to life during Lent, made me ponder the unseen journey of my daughter’s faith. Although I still smile at seeing my daughter re-tell Allison’s dramatic end, my greatest joy is that it is that out of this story I can see how much my children have been able to connect the Christian story – our story – to every point of their lives. Here, my daughter, at just six years old, is coming to terms with the death of a pet through the eyes of a newly formed theological understanding that death can be conquered through sacrifice, just as Christ conquered death through his.
As we continue to celebrate the glorious Easter Season, let us pause and look with wonder for the small moments. When our children share their understanding of friendship, sacrifice, love, and God. It is here, in these ordinary experiences, that you will find God speaking to you. It may not always seem that our children are hearing God’s word, but they are. And the great tall tales like that of an ordinary chicken named Allison giving her life so that other chicks might live are proof that yes, they really do hear us echo God.