NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, March 23rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Here’s WORLD commentator Whitney Williams on the innocence of children.
WHITNEY WILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR: Each night around 7:30, our family gathers for prayer in our youngest boys’ bedroom: My husband, me, our 7-year-old son and his 3-year-old twin brothers.
This time, though consistent, is often not pretty, despite the glow of the boys’ blue lava lamp.
“It’s time to PRAAAAY,” my husband yells across the house as he plops himself down on one of the twin beds, head in hands, elbows on knees. He’s exhausted from his day at work and the often frustrating business of brushing three children’s teeth.
Our eldest responds to the call, zooming down our hall on his hoverboard, inevitably running over little toes.
AUDIO: Wrestling noise [run under next graph, then fade out]
After my husband comforts whichever twin got flattened, the wrestling begins—father/son bonding time. I decide I have time to run some of the kids’ discarded clothes to the laundry basket and I find a few more chores on my way back to their room.
“Waitin’ on you, ol’ girl!” my husband has taught my boys to holler across the house. It brings a smile to my face, I’ll admit.
I drop whatever busies my hands and head that way, plopping myself down on wrinkled race car bed sheets. I let out a sigh. The day is almost done. I feel a release of tension.
Jake, one of the 3-year-olds, almost always volunteers to pray. And I’ve come to count on the ironic depth of his opening statement:
JAKE: “Thank you for God …”
The first time Jake prayed this, my husband and I chuckled. Now, each night when Jake thanks God for God, I pause to consider, “Where would I be without you, Lord?” And then, realizing what a treasure we have in God’s very existence, I join my son in his thanksgiving. Thank you, God, for … you!
Now, I know what you’re thinking: The next Billy Graham is coming out of the Williams’ household! But let me assure you that we have our share of silly prayers, as well. Our other 3-year-old son has uttered “Thank you for doodooo” on more than one occasion, followed by hysterical laughter. While my husband explains the importance of being respectful while praying, I’m spurred to thank God for our digestive systems. It’s something I’d never thought much about before my son’s silly utterance.
Though I do agree that we should teach our kids to revere and fear the Lord, He is, indeed a father—and a good one, at that. I imagine Him smiling down upon us, with so much grace as we endeavor to disciple our children.
“Do not hinder them,” Jesus said … “the kingdom belongs to such as these,” … these who haven’t yet learned “the proper way” to approach their heavenly father. These who come to him like they come to their earthly parents—with silly words, hysterical laughter, wiggly bodies, sticky hands, and oftentimes unique viewpoints worth considering.
I’m Whitney Williams.
JAKE: Thank you for God, and thank you for everything. Amen [laughs]