Lessons on Faith from My Toddler's Theology

Lessons on Faith from My Toddler's Theology

The Brief 🩲

  • Children have a unique perspective on faith that we can learn from.
  • Simplifying our understanding of God can lead to a deeper, more meaningful faith.
  • Theology and debates about social issues can sometimes make our faith more complicated than it needs to be.

As a parent, I've realized that children have a unique perspective on the world.

Their innocent minds and pure hearts allow them to see things in ways we, as adults, often overlook. One area where this is particularly true is when it comes to their understanding of God.

My toddler may not have a sophisticated understanding of theology. Still, he knows a few things about God that I think are worth sharing. For starters, he recognizes the Bible when he sees it. To him, it's a unique book that is supposed to be treated with respect. He may not understand all the words, but he knows Mommy and Daddy enjoy reading it.

He also knows about Jesus, although his understanding is limited to the fact that Jesus did something on the cross that made him go "boom" (which means bad). Even though he doesn't know all the details, he recognizes that Jesus' death on the cross was momentous and meaningful. It's a simplistic understanding but also profound in its own way.

When we pray together, my son knows to fold his hands and bow his head. He's learned to say the names of his classmates, teachers, and family members, and he knows to say "amen" when finished.

On Sundays, my son looks forward to going to church. He knows it's a good place full of happy people who love to say hello and sometimes hand out candy. He's seen his dad talk on stage and likes to pretend to do the same when he gets a chance. It may not seem like much, but these experiences lay the foundation for a lifetime of faith.

As I reflect on my son's understanding of God, I can't help but think about Jesus' words in the Bible. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus tells his disciples, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." At first glance, this may seem like a strange thing to say. After all, don't we want to become wise and knowledgeable as we grow older? But what Jesus meant was that we must approach our faith with the same humility and trust that a child has.

Perhaps the key to unlocking a deeper faith is to ditch the complexity and approach it like a toddler - with wide-eyed wonder and curiosity.

My son's theology may be simple, but it's also profound in its own way. He's beginning to recognize the importance of the Bible, the significance of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, and the power of prayer. He sees the church as a place where people come together to smile, talk about God, and support one another. And most importantly, he approaches all of these things with a sense of wonder and awe that I sometimes struggle to recapture. Our children are a gift we shouldn't have.

As adults, we often make our faith more complicated than it needs to be. We get caught up in theological, political, and social debates. We worry about whether we do enough to please God or meet unwritten (or sometimes written) expectations. But we really need to simplify things and approach our faith with the same childlike wonder that my son does.

Your child's grasp of God may be elementary, but there's beauty in that simplicity.

So the next time you're feeling overwhelmed by your faith, take a moment to think about what your child knows about God. Embrace the simplicity and humility of their understanding, and let it inspire you to approach your own faith with the same sense of wonder and trust. Who knows? Maybe that's precisely what Jesus meant when he said to have faith like a child.

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