Parenting is all these and more, especially when your preschooler begins asking you questions that seem to require you to obtain a theology degree before answering.
This has been the case for us over the course of several conversations recently.
In the car on the way to school one morning:
We were listening to the radio when that song by tobymac came on (the lyrics include, "I don't wanna gain the whole world and lose my soul"). I was singing along, and so was Drew from the backseat, when he piped up,
"Mommy - are they saying, 'I don't wanna gain the whole world and lose my sword?'".
No, buddy.. SOUL. I don't wanna lose my SOUL.
"Oh. O.k." pause... "Hey Mom? What's a soul?"
A few days later:
"Mommy... I know a new verse. Genesis 1:1. God made the heavens. And God made the earth. And he made the birds and the people and all the things. And then He rested on the 7th day."
Very good. That's right, bud.
"But Mommy. I don't think that's right. Because God doesn't rest. He doesn't sleep. He doesn't need to close His eyes. He never stops watching us, right???!!!"
He was adamant, and very concerned. Already he'd found a discrepancy that he couldn't resolve in his mind. I have taught him over and over, especially at bedtime or scary, anxious times that God is ALWAYS with him, wherever he goes. That he watches him while he sleeps. That God is always vigilant, mindful of him. And in learning about the creation of the earth, he now has visions of God laying down on the job... taking a nap... closing those Almighty, watchful eyes. And he needed an explanation for the discrepancy.
The very next night?
I was telling him the story of Adam & Eve. Which, by the way, is a pretty serious story once you get into the details. (Perhaps I need to use the Storybook Picture Bible a little more often to ensure my re-telling is age-appropriate.) But, there we were, talking about Adam and Eve and the beautiful garden, and how God had given them charge over the land. And God told them not to eat the fruit from one tree, but that Adam and Eve made a bad choice and ate that fruit and sinned.
"Why did they do that?"
Because they made a bad choice, honey.
"Why didn't God want them to eat from that tree?"
Because God knew there would be consequences, and He wanted them to listen and obey.
"What if Adam and Eve just didn't hear God tell them not to eat the fruit?"
They heard him, sweetie. They did.
"How? How did they hear God?"
Because He talked to them.
"With a real voice?"
It was only then that I realized the true concern behind his line of questioning. For my four year old has not heard the audible, booming voice of God and thought that, perhaps, this was the problem for Adam & Eve as well.
So, in the past few weeks, I have had the "opportunity" to explain the difference between a heart and a soul; the concept of God resting (as an example to us) yet being ever-mindful, ever-vigilant; and the many ways we can hear the voice of God.
God is so gracious. With the promise that He'll give me wisdom when I ask for it (James 1:5), I'm not as overwhelmed by the charge I have been given with this precocious child. I will not have all the answers for him, but I trust that God will use me to guide him.
And that He'll speak to this child Himself. Whether it's with a booming audible voice or a quiet whisper to that little soul.
Tell me... what are some of the questions your little ones have asked you that left you feeling like you needed to get your ph.D.?