Noah has entered full-bore into the wonderful world of pretend. On Monday, for example: his friend, Ty, was playing Legos with him, Grandma Sharon and Grandpa Chuck were having dinner with us, and Mr. Steve (our friend who is a firefighter) climbed up his ladder to reach the kitchen counter so he could talk to me. The mind of a two-and-a-half-year-old is an interesting, curious and cooky place to be.
I wonder how he actually sees the world. He can get pretty wrapped up in pretend. Do his eyes "see" what he pretends? Does he cognitively switch back and forth between his worlds, or is it more of a fluid mix of the two?
The other day, we were driving in the car, and Noah said, "I love Santa." In our house, we down-play the Santa card. So I asked him, "Is Santa real or pretend?" "Pretend," said Noah matter-of-factly. I was so proud that we had such a smart little boy. Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18. A few seconds later, Noah continued, "And I love Jesus." "Me, too, Noah," I replied. "Is Jesus real or pretend?" "Pretend," he said matter-of-factly. I made sure to correct him.
How can I best teach my boys about a real, living God who is also invisible? How can I distinguish the stories of the Bible from the stories of Curious George and songs of praise from nursery rhymes? I know that this will be my quest for as long as the boys and I live. This is not one of those things that you learn once in Kindergarten and know for the rest of your life. I know of high school students who wonder if the Bible is indeed all true. Just a few years ago, I struggled to come to grips with whether God was "real or pretend." (A story I'd be happy to share.)
The best witness I have seen for my God is his work, his miracles, his answers to prayers. Our words have power: when we open and share our real experiences (good and bad and definitely not perfect) and the real way that God has been active in our lives, those around us, especially our kids, will be able to "see" that he is REAL.
Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. Psalm 71:17-18