Slaughter

Teaching a young child — whether in the home, a school, a Sunday school class or other setting — is one of the greatest blessings an adult can enjoy. When that child chooses you as his/her confidant, you have been entrusted with the most tender of feelings.

When a child has learned to trust you, they will share with you their deepest fears as well as their happiest moments. They confide in you things they may not even be able to share with their parents. Sometimes the confidences will have you rolling on the aisle laughing (at least in your mind, if not literally) and sometimes they will break your heart.

But being the confidant of a child also places a huge responsibility on us, because those tender little hearts and trusts are easily shattered.

I remember a time about 25 years ago, when I was baby-sitting my nieces and nephews. I don’t remember exactly what they did, but it was a group effort and all needed a swat on the behind. When I paddled the youngest (only one gentle swat), tears welled up in his eyes and he said, “You smacked me.” I will never forget the look on his face, as though I had betrayed him. Thank the Lord within a few moments of hugs and soft words, I was able to reassure him that I still loved him and today we have a wonderfully close relationship, even though we are separated by hundreds of miles.

Has a child confided in you recently? If so, thank God for the blessing and ask Him for the wisdom, compassion and all that you need to keep the trust that child has for you. It may be the beginning of a friendship that will last a lifetime.

Often we have the time to really listen to a child, we will hear them mimic the things they have heard their parents and other adults in their circle of life say. But even more often we will find that they have a very unique perspective on everyday things that we adults sometimes take for granted. For example:

• When Sara was 6, her new puppy became seriously ill, and the vet didn’t know if he could save it. I felt very bad for Sara, because this was her first pet and it had been a Christmas gift, so I said to her, “Don’t worry, precious; just remember, if Fluffy dies, we’ll see her in heaven.” Sara looked at me as if I were simple-minded and said, “Well, yes, Daddy, but heaven’s a long way off for me — I’m only six!”

• My sister, who home schools, had been working with Bowin on learning the books of the Bible. Colton, 2, was in bed already, supposedly asleep. Bowin was reciting the books of the Bible for his father when he got stuck. Suddenly, this small voice came from the back bedroom: “First Lion King, Second Lion King . . .”

• Our family was on a long road trip, and my little sister, an avid reader, seemed intrigued by the signs as we drove through each new town. After a long period of silence, Paula asked my parents: “So many of these sign say ‘Lots For Sale.’ How in the world do they expect anybody to buy what ever they’re selling? ‘Lots of what?’”

• David was placed in the remedial reading class in second grade. When his mom asked him how school was going one day, David replied, “I’m the smartest of the dumbest.”

• My husband has always had a beard. One day, he decided to shave it off. He came into the room where my 5-year-old daughter Samantha was and asked her, “Notice anything different?” To which she replied, “No” with a puzzled look on her face. My husband then said to her, “My beard’s gone.” Now the puzzled look disappeared and the innocent eyes appeared when she said “I didn’t take it!”

Thought for the week — Children are a blessing of the Lord. (Psalm 127:3)

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