One night I was reading my current chapter of The Great Controversy aloud to my little guy in bed. (It was a chapter that I knew would not be scary to young ears.) We got to a part about sowing seeds.
Little Brother was very surprised. “Sowing seeds?!” he asked.
“Yes.” And I explained to him how the things we do are like sowing seeds. Although the paragraph we had just read was a warning against sowing bad seed, I thought it better to focus on the good seed.
I told him when we do things like smile and tell people about Jesus, or be kind to each other… that is like sowing good seeds.
And I went to continue reading — but he did not quite understand yet.
He thought it was funny.
“With the machine?” he asked. Huh? I was trying to think where he had seen a seed-sowing machine.
“Like we get the seeds off the bread…” (We had just had seed-topped bread for dinner.) “And sew them with the machine?” He was pointing to my sewing machine, with quite the incredulous look on his face.
Oh, how often do we take the apparent simplicity of a concept and accidentally talk “over the children’s heads”?
How often do we say things that they just don’t quite understand?
So then I could adjust my words. “Oh! No, Sweetie, it is like planting seeds. Sometimes ‘sow’ means to plant. We plant the seeds. Like when we put them in the ground so they can grow. That’s better, isn’t it!” He agreed.
We must make it a habit to go beyond telling the children the lesson. We must teach. We must listen.
Some children are naturally inquisitive — and bold. If you say something that sounds crazy to them, they will let you know (like Little Brother so politely did).
Other children, though, will just listen and wonder. They may wonder for years.
Did you bring any of those odd thoughts with you from childhood? I always loved the song, “Victory in Jesus.” But there was that one odd line: “He sought me and bought me….”
I could not understand why Jesus would beat me up, but I figured maybe it was something like calling myself a “wretch” in Amazing Grace. You know, our sins are really bad, so it’s kind of like it takes something really bad to get them out of us… I don’t know….
I don’t know exactly when it finally dawned on me, but I know I was grown. “He sought me and bought me” — He went looking for me, and when He found me He paid for me with His own precious blood! Wow! What a difference!
Victory in Jesus, my Saviour forever!
What a difference understanding one or two simple words makes.
Ask the children questions. Make sure they understand.
What other common Christian words or phrases might children misunderstand? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments! 🙂