God's pajamas, God's balloons
Homeschool Theology 101, with the 4 yo...
(During attempted homeschooling, a story in three acts)
Act 1: Thursday
Me: (Trying "morning circle" with my kids on an impossibly sunny day) Okay let's sing a church song!
4 yo: I have one. (Sing-song voice) I wanna go outsiiiiide, I wanna go outsiiiiiide....
Me: Okay but let's pick a church song.
4 yo: I wanna go outsiiiiiiide, with Jesus and Gooooood.
Act 2: Friday
Me: (Same circle) Okay, let's sing a church song!
4 yo: Oh, I have one! (Sing-song voice) God and Jesus love everybody, even when they make bad choices!
Me: Well, ah, yes, that's actually very good...
Act 3: Following Monday:
Me: (Yet again with the circle!) Okay, time for a church song!
4 yo: (sing-song voice yet again, with stuffed animals in tow) Duckie has footie jammies, pink bunny has footie jammies, doggie has footie jammies, sheepie has footie jammies. But I don't know if Jesus and God have footie jammies.
Me: Do you think Jesus and God wear footie jammies?
4 yo: I don't know. I'll find out when I get to heaven.
Me: Okay, let's move on.
4 yo: Wait, I have one more song. (You guessed it - sing-song voice - then grabs inflated balloon and puts on his head) I like balloons, they are fun, God and Jesus are in my balloon...
Me: God and Jesus are in your balloon?
4 yo: Yeah, God and Jesus are everywhere so they are in this balloon!
Theology is not just for bedtime, and the insights from my children are as good as the questions. Maybe better. The 4 yo eloquently states the whole gospel: God loves everyone, even when they make bad choices. I've written seminary papers that were less clear.
I love the playful inquiry and imagination here. Is God in this balloon? Why not? God is everywhere! Does God wear footie jammies? Who knows, but we can ask someday! Theology can be fun. Children remind us to bring playfulness to all parts of our lives, maybe especially our faith. Theology can feel pretty heady, like something you read in a book, but the God of both the Old and New Testaments was more hands-on, showing up in breath, fire, water, bread, wine and a human form.
My 4 yo was standing, dancing, wiggling around through much of these exchanges, his body acting out his insights on the divine. He brought his whole self to the work (play!) of theology. I'm learning from my children how to discover the goodness of God in playful, earthly things, where God hides in plain sight.
This conversation occurred April 30-May 4, 2020.