A little boy woke up with the sun one day, and discovered the beauty of the sunrise.
“God made the sky for me and it is so beautiful! It makes my heart happy!” he exclaimed to his mom.
Some children are hardwired with a love of nature. They thrill in the silky design created by a spider, they are deeply moved by the surprise of a rainbow, or they sit in a sandbox and let the grains fall through their fingers as they revel in the sight, touch, and smell of it.
Allowing your child to discover God’s handiwork within nature is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child, because nature is all around us. Whether we live on a farm or in an apartment in the city, we all have God’s creation around us: sky, grass, trees, bugs, pets, and people.
The best way to help our children figure out what God is revealing to them through nature is not by lecturing them about it, but by asking gentle questions. Questions that can help them discern his working, questions that draw them closer to him and help them meditate on God and his glorious works.
Here are some questions you can use to help your child connect what they’re experiencing in nature with what God is doing in their life!
- What amazes you about that?
- What does that teach you about God?
If your children are small, you can prompt them with answers, but once they get used to looking at life in this way, they should start asking themselves these questions.
If you look at some of the “nature” stories that Jesus tells, these are exactly the questions that he answers. The questions simply train your child to invite him into the moment. To use an example that Jesus used (the parable of the mustard seed), put yourself in the following situation:
You are walking along the sidewalk and come upon a dense patch of weeds. Your child scuffs at it with his feet and leans down to pluck some seedpods.
Child: Look at all those plants! And look at how little the seeds are!
Parent: What amazes you about that?
Child: All those plants can come from these little seeds!
At this point, you may choose to share what you think it teaches about the nature of God. This would be appropriate with a younger child. If your child is older you can ask the follow-up question:
Parent: What does that teach you about God?
Child: God makes big stuff out of the littlest things.
Parent: God does do big stuff with the littlest things. He takes the little gifts we give him and makes them amazing.
I tried this with Dodger recently as we were remarking on the green grass starting to return in the spring. We ended up having this fabulous discussion about resurrection, all because of some blades of grass!