This morning something happened that I am sure has many hidden lessons.
I've mentioned elsewhere that my boys are fascinated by ancient history. The eldest (now nearly 6) is confident he wants to be an archaeologist. Everywhere he goes, he finds 'treasure'. Often this is old pieces of wire, broken pieces of pottery, but to him, these are precious and evidence of previous civilisations that capture his imagination. Recently they learnt about Pompeii, and also about some Biblical archaeology which relatively recently has verified things from the Bible which had been questioned by some historians. On a long road trip last week, we listened to an audiobook about pirates, and of course there was hidden treasure there too.
Whilst scrabbling about in some dirt in Dorset my other 5 year old produced a small coin, about the size of a penny. It just looked like a penny or indeed nothing at all. However, we took it home. We had noticed a slightly irregular margin and wondered whether it could actually be an ancient coin, but it was only this morning as we cleaned it up a little more and inspected it with a magnifying glass that we saw the writing Henri and realised it was a gold 'angel coin' from the era of Henry VIII. It is actually genuine treasure, which just confirms to the boys that there is treasure everywhere.
This was all very exciting, and much of the rest of the day was spent looking at coins, learning about the history of money, of hammered coins, of different currencies and uses in different cultures. Even as adults, there was just that sense of excitement that we had found treasure.
Jesus spoke of 'childlike faith' several times. Now, this did not refer to worldly things such as finding buried treasure (indeed the Bible warns against treasure on earth, reminding us that 'where your treasure is, there your heart will be also'). But there is something about the innocence of childhood that they do not believe anything to be impossible. They take things literally, and if the Bible says it to be true, it must be true. They don't have any difficulty with Jesus healing the sick, raising the dead, walking on water, calming the storm - because they know that He was God and of course He could do these amazing things. Of course He hears and answers our prayers. They have a beautiful acceptance in their faith that adults so often lack. We tend to look at the facts, at the circumstances, at what we think we 'know'. The children simply accept, believe and expect great things.
As adults it is very easy to dismiss their comments. A couple of years ago in autumn, as we strolled through a very familiar park, one of the 3 year olds said, 'Look at those apples' and our immediate response was, 'Don't be silly, there are no apple trees here'. But of course, they were apples and we went on to find half a dozen wild apple trees in that same park, and each autumn have foraged plenty. Even now I have a spiced apple cake baking in the oven made out of apple puree from last year.
As parents home educating our children we must be so careful not to quash their innocent questioning and not to dismiss comments that sounds off the wall, because they just might be right. For our boys, I think the fascination with ancient history has been firmly consolidated now, and I don't imagine they will ever forget the day that they genuinely found treasure. Or maybe they are simply thinking, 'of course there was treasure, there is treasure everywhere'. Maybe its the parents who will never forget!
Whatever is happening this week, I hope you are able to take the time to be challenged by and to learn from your children!
- I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.