You never know where a conversation with kids will take you.... Of course, Kraig and my family would argue that that's true of any conversation with me; one tangent jumps to a seemingly unrelated tangent (though in my mind there's always a connection!). But that's beside the point. The point is how amazing it is that a random conversation with my kids can warp at light speed into a theological point.
This morning Clare and Ev were singing "Rock-a-bye, Baby," and Clare wanted to know what a "bough" was. When they found out it meant "branch" they started singing the song using "branch" instead of "bough" and that led me (okay, yes, past English teacher here) to pointing out the difference between connotation and denotation--why "branch" creates a different mental picture than "bough" and the sound of the word in the mouth fits better in the song, etc. "You know," I reminded Clare, "how we've talked about how 'big' means the same as 'giant', but when we talk about David and Goliath, it's one thing to say Goliath was big, but you get a totally different picture when you say he was huge."
All right, so that was me leaping to another point. But Clare, being her mother's daughter, jumped to the next one. She wanted to know how David who was so small could kill Goliath, and that took us to the point that God helped him, and God can help us do amazing things when we let him. We didn't go much farther on that tangent because Clare wanted to know why Veggie Tales stories are about God. I explained that they were stories and points from the Bible, and it's one way to help people learn about God. "Everything we do in life should be based on things we know from the Bible," I said (more or less; definitely not so clearly). "Mommy and Daddy try to live by this, and when we ask you to do things it's because we want you to do that too. It'll help you become everything Jesus wants you to be." (And like I said, this was not stated so concisely; it wandered a bit over seconds on pancakes. I was thinking, too, that this is a point I need to continually learn. There are certainly many times when I'm demanding something of my kids (even good things), not because I'm living in the spirit of God working through me to help them grow, but out of frustration and anger that they aren't obeying!
In an ideal, unfallen world, Clare and Ev would have taken these "Breakfast Devotions" and immediately internalized them and begun to live them out.... But the reality is that we've had conversations like this many times in the past, and I know we'll continue, and in the meantime they'll go off and often beat each other over the head trying to get their own way on things. And I'll keep struggling with my desire to lord myself over them. But through it all, too, as I'm having these conversations with them, I'm reminded of theological truths that I need to make a part of my every moment, and to let God work them out through me. Because really, as Junior in "Dave and the Giant Pickle" sings, the challenges are "big, but God's bigger" and the results can be amazing.