Faith is having a reason
There’s only so much ‘Mums and Dads’ pretend-play I can handle if I’m to be perfectly honest with the world – which is not really all that surprising – playing them ‘for real’ is mundane enough without recreating them in imagined play!
Mix that with being spoken to in an all-too-familiar condescending tone while you swap roles with your three year old and become the scolded child who has to go to bed all the time and … well … boredom quickly sinks in.
Turning the stereo up and dancing like a nutter with my three wanna-be Taylor Swifts, on the other hand, is invigorating and exhilarating. So, with stereo turned up one day recently, belting out the words to Rachel Platten’s Stand By You, I had a slight ‘aha’ moment.
Oh, truth—I guess truth is what you believe in
And faith—I think faith is having a reason
And I know now, love, if your wings are broken
Borrow mine ’til yours can open, too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you
The last three lines are irrelevant to this article, but, if you’re a trashy song lover like me, that broken wings line is sensational, I couldn’t help but include it! As for the first two lines, the second in particular … well, my friends, this is the sole explanation for every Kindergarten child who, having never been to church before, having parents who may not actually practise any religion whatsoever, soaks up the stories about Jesus like a microfibre sponge! My #2 has just started school and my non-atheist but non-believer husband just rolls his eyes as we hear yet another story about Jesus being hidden in a log at Easter time or as we sit in the car and she randomly starts singing ‘May God be always looking over your shoul-ol-older’. She, and my #1 are constantly saying to him, ‘Dad, what’s Jesus’ last name? Dad, Jesus was a really good fish catcher. You like fishing, don’t you?’ Many of my non-practising, non-believer friends are overwhelmed by their school-starters reactions to the religious life of the school. I’m sure some of them find it quite confronting, but Rachel Platten has it nailed! Faith is having reason.
More than any other generation of children, this generation is growing up in a world where we are all trying to find a reason for living. In my opinion, this is what underlies the whole ‘mindfulness’ movement that is so on-trend right now. Reason. Reason for living, reason for getting up each day, reason for standing up for what you believe in. It all stems from that word, faith, whatever your faith might be. I don’t think there’s a better way to explain it to my husband or my friends who find the whole, ‘I am good because God loves me’, a bit heavy than, ‘And faith – I think faith is having a reason’. Essentially, it’s purpose! We all need a purpose, especially little kids! As much as we adults throw out the line, ‘because I said so!’, it’s not what our little munchkins want to hear (hence the ‘why’ question 84 billion times a day!) – they want a reason, and the Bible and its values and its stories and its traditions gives them a reason. It doesn’t have to make scientific sense; it just needs to feel right!
So, next time your child comes home with some zealous fascination with the Easter story or obsessed with heaven and God and the poisonous apple, don’t feel alarmed or intimidated by their interest. It’s simply their little brains and hearts feeling connected with stories that make sense to them, that give them a reason!
By Penny Lucas