Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Child's Perspective

I love being with children, particularly grade school aged children. While they can be mischievous, they are honest and eager to learn. In the many years I have taught Sunday School I have been asked all kinds of questions that required a straight face and a satisfactory answer on my part.

What is a eunuch?? Another older teacher looked on in shock when I explained that one!

What is adultery?? The girl's mother who was divorced for this reason stood quietly outside the door until I answered.

I am greatly in favour of newer translations of the Bible, especially for Old Testament stories. I printed out a colouring sheet for today's story from Joshua 9 and these verses from the King James Version were printed on the bottom. What child would understand this?!

"And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy."

Or try reading the story of Balaam's ass to a room full of ten year olds using the King James Bible. I did once and they were laughing so hard we were all crying. (read it here) I am not trying to take away from the sacredness of scripture, but the Bible needs to be understood in the language of each generation. High school will be soon enough for them to learn the nuances of Shakespearean English.

In the past quarter we have been talking about Moses and the wanderings of the Israelites in the wilderness. I was trying to get them to understand how long forty years was and asked an eight year old, "How old will you be in forty years?"

"Forty-eight! My parents aren't even that old."

Another little girl looked at me in horror and said, "You would be over 100!"

Well, that answer cracked me up. (In truth I would just be 94...)

Working with geriatric patients makes me feel young, but to these children I am "old";- older than their parents and older than some of their grandparents. With this introduction I hope to explore more insights on aging in a few future posts.


  1. Anonymous8:27 pm GMT-4

    I love this post. Years ago I taught in one-room schools 1st, 2nd & 3rd graders. Now this past year I stayed with my 85 year old father until he passed away and what a contrast between young and old.

  2. From the lips of children,or as Art Linkletter would have said,Children say the darndest things.I have encountered a few of these things from the younger children on my school bus.I agree that in S.S.children need to hear the Bible in a form they can understand.

  3. I chuckled when I read this and could almost smell the play dough and the paints. My dear southern father was always good at telling the old testament stories paraphrased in the vernacular of the south. He was well-remembered for telling the story of Esther and having King Xerxes sayd "well, honey child, what can I do for you?"

  4. I had a good laugh too. And I look forward to your posts on aging.

  5. Honesty is always best. Good for you to work with these kids in a way they can understand. I remember going to a Catholic church as a kid with cousins when the Priests still spoke Latin. I sure was bored.

    Age is just a matter of the heart. Yet I'm glad to have friends younger and older in years.

  6. Ruth--you reminded me of the freshness of youth with this post.
    Out of the mouths of babes!

  7. I work with children of all nationalities. To the Polynesians, everyone is a brother or a sister. It is hard to explain to them about cousins, when there is no such word in their langauge.

    Once, I couldn't believe a very beautiful girl could have such a plain looking sister. I thought, may be they are half sisters. Then they told me they are sisters in the Polynesian's sense of sisters.

  8. What a funny look at how kids think. I agree with you Ruth. Later translations are simply more relevant and understandable to young minds. OK, so we're older than dirt. LOLOL!

  9. Without a doubt, aging is relative. It all depends on the ages of the people who surround you. Very nice post.

  10. I've sometimes thought if Jesus were to arrive for the first time these days, what would he be instead of a carpenter. Of course, he still could be that, we do have them, but it's not quite the same as it was back in the day, when everything was made by hand. You're right, the whole bible would be different. No more kings and shepherds and high priests. We'd probably have CEOs and day traders and... Boggles the mind to think!

  11. I can relate to this post. When nursing geriatric patients, I feel like a spring chick! When playing with my grandkids, I feel like an old grandma (grandma, did they have airplanes in your day? LOL!)

  12. It's always an eye opener presenting and interacting with children. Interesting about the Bible, it has great stories at its heart: and children see that clearly, with open eyes and heart.

  13. I think that age is one of the best.

  14. Katie- Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I found your blog interesting and hope you keep posting on Blogger.

    Ruth- My daughter loved her bus drivers. I am sure you have heard some funny lines too.

    Beth- Bible stories were retold for generations before they were written down. I would have loved to hear your father tell a story.

    AC- I envy your relationship with your wee ones. They are lucky and so are you.

    Gaelyn- I went to a Latin Mass once with a friend and had no idea what was going on. Old English is almost as strange as Latin to us today.

    KGMom- We lose that honesty somewhere. Too bad!

    Ann- We could learn much from other cultures in the way they embrace people in their communities. Thanks for sharing.

    Jayne- Older than dirt...all depends on who is assessing us. I think I will get a second opinion.

    NCMW- Being old if often more of an attitude than a number of years.

    Deborah- Very interesting comment. I remember reading a book based on a similar premise. It was called Joshua by Joseph F. Girzone.

    Wendy- "did they have airplanes in your day?"...oh my!!

    Robert- Teaching children makes me examine closely what I believe. I feel I need to be as honest with them as they are with me.

    Jean- Let's celebrate age!


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