Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lessons from the Boat

Kids are profound and detailed observers. They see things I might never notice but for their attention. I found myself thankful for their perspective this Sunday morning, when we, like my friend Kristin, skipped church for the great outdoors.

A stiff wind blew across Grand Lake o' the Cherokees as we loaded up the boat for a quick morning jaunt. Now, Oklahoma is not mountainous terrain, so we take our hills and turn them into mountains in our imaginations. These imagined mountains rose up around us, the boat chugging out into open waters. Once out past the white peaks that formed near the dock, the boat settled into a rhythm perfect for this kind of kid observation.

I watched as my kids and their cousins craned their little heads around, trying to absorb everything. The shape of the clouds, the color of the water, the Blue Heron and the big fish. Their eyes and minds darted over the surface of the lake, scanned the horizon, interpreting their world, their fingers pointing at all they saw.

Someone turned on the boat's radio and I rolled my eyes. I would have preferred the relative quiet. But a song was playing with lyrics that reminded me of my exact spot in the world. It's refrain proclaimed "from sunrise to sunset, I will fix my eyes on your glory."

I took a short moment, I didn't want to get all preachy up on them, to say that everything they saw was made by a God who loves them. Now, it could have been just me, puffed up that I was giving a lesson, but it seemed like their eyes changed, their necks lengthened, their focus sharpened.

They see the hilarious creativity in a God who gives the Heron its funny color and long neck, who makes a fish slippery and scaly, whose trees bow in the wind and whistle His name. I said, when something does what it was created to do, it shows God's glory." Here endeth the lesson, but I watched them watch the world.

"So, birds always do what they were created to do," one of them wondered. I agreed. More thinking.

"So, they always bring glory to God." Yep again.

Not only are kids observational geniuses, they are also perceptive. They knew what I was getting at. They knew that this idea applies to them. When His creations are doing what they were created to do, it reflects Him.

I observe my kids as intently as the observe their world. I don't know all they were created to do. It will be an amazing journey to find out.


  1. Absolutely beautiful writing and beautiful parenting, Jen. I love how simply and perfectly you put it: "When something does what it was created to do, it shows God's glory." And then you let their wonderful minds do the rest.

    Now we just need to figure out how to make sure their understanding of what they were created to do is on track, rather than very confused, as mine was as a kid. Any brilliant ideas about how to teach that? :)

  2. I guess I'll have to tackle that one next week.