A couple of weeks ago Filipe mentioned something about how to teach the concept of eternity to our girls. To which I responded, “you don’t”. He seemed a little surprised (probably more because I had thought it through and had a response), so I began to explain my thoughts on it.
Humanity is bound by time- like a curse we’re under it until we die. Time creates a great deal of stress for us that I don’t think we even realize is there. We are so often consumed with thoughts toward the future and all that we need to do in the time we have to do it. Whether a to do list for the week or goals for the next five years.
Think for a second what your life would be like if you didn’t have to look at the clock for a whole day…maybe a whole week…a year isn’t even imaginable. What would your life be like? Would you spend your time differently?
For most of us, time is our guide.
One of the things I continually remind myself about God is that He is outside of time. Just knowing that gives me a lot of comfort because it shows just how big and in control God is. It helps me trust Him more. Eternity is impossible to understand with our human understanding, but it make a little more sense (just a little) when you take time out of the equation.
So, what does this have to do with teaching my kids about eternity.
Well, my kids don’t understand time- it’s vague to them. Lily, my 4-year-old, thinks that “yesterday” and “a year ago” mean the same thing (the past). Last week she asked me when she can go to school and I told her it didn’t start for about 4 more weeks, she responded, “but I want to go now!”. She didn’t care if it was tomorrow, next week, or next month, she was just trying to communicate that she wanted to go now not later.
For a child, not understanding time is a gift. It’s not necessary for them to know (or worry) about time- that’s my job. I am the one that decides when and where they go. They can trust me to know that we are doing what we need to do when we need to do it. As long as I can keep it that way, it’s a benefit to them. As they begin to understand time (hours/days/months) the more they will be responsible for. One day they will have to wake up on their own to get to school “on time”.
Now don’t think I’ve gone completely crazy, I’m not by any means withholding information from my kids. I tell them what day/time it is (not every day) and I correct them when they tell me something happened “a couple of years ago” but it really happened last week. Lily and Cailyn have a clock in their room and often bring it to me to show me what time it is (though it’s just a number to them). What I’m not doing though is intentionally teaching them about time (seconds, minutes, hours, etc). Those things will come soon enough, and until then, they are at an advantage not to have to worry about it. Right now they can live completely in the moment and that is what’s important for them in this season.
As adults we fight to try to live in the moment. Maybe we should watch our kids and let them teach us how.