Sometimes kids say things that hold more depth and meaning than I think they even know. The other night while riding in our car our seven year old had been quietly contemplating something for a few moments and then suddenly said this, “People all over the world are plussing and people all over the world are minusing.”
Wow. Where did this come from?
Then he clarified just as I was about to ask him what exactly he meant, though I was fairly sure I knew. He said, “I just mean, people all over the world are always dying. But people all over the world are always having babies too.”
My husband and I looked at each other for a moment in silence thinking, “Is this boy from our loins?! Are we sure there wasn’t some sort of mix-up at the hospital? What provokes such thoughty thoughts in a seven year old?” After all, we were just driving home from a hockey game. It’s not as if we had just gone and listened to a symposium on birth, life and death. This child’s thought processes are really nothing new to us but his ability to put things into words somehow never ceases to amaze us. But no, he really is ours. He is the spittin‘ image of his father and he shares my twisted sense of humor. There is little way he could be mistaken for anyone else’s offspring.
After my husband cracked the quintessential joke, “Well, I guess I’m nonplussed,” (ha ha… a thinly veiled reference to a certain little procedure he had done a few years ago to ensure no more plussing would take place) we had a neat conversation about multiplying and filling the earth, about the creation mandate and about how good God is to have created such a process wherein we humans are allowed to be co-creators with him.
We took the moment and ran with it. We embraced a teachable moment. For a brief moment we were allowed to plumb the depths of our oldest son’s heart and mind about life and death. We were allowed to simultaneously discuss the biological and moral and beautiful aspects of human reproduction, the Edenic fall of man that brought us all into this state where this unnatural thing of death has become the unavoidable norm, about the political rhetoric of overpopulation, the joys and sorrows that come with experiencing the human life — from new life to end of days.
What a sweet conversation this was. How easy would it be to say, “Wow. That’s… deep.” and end the conversation there? Do you take those golden moments by the horns and leap into a conversation even though it came clear out of left field and you haven’t the foggiest notion of where it’s going?
So much of the time we, as parents, can become very busy or preoccupied with our big thoughts of the world. Too often we easily slide into becoming shallow listeners when it comes to our children; where we hear them speak but we are not truly listening to their hearts or the processes that are going on in their minds. In this way we miss many a gleaming opportunity to speak into their world, to impart to them the grace and wisdom from above that we have been granted and we also miss out on the opportunity to learn from them and get to know them better — how they operate, how they see the world and their place in it — at the same time.
Deuteronomy 6:7-9 “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
This episode for me was one of those “by the way” moments that was dangling there before us and it was one that we took with gusto. And, I have to tell you, it was priceless.