One thing we’ve dealt with, ever since moving into our new home this past April, is waking up at 2am to find we have the heel of a 3 year old in our face. Or the drool of a 2 year old all over our pillow. (sidenote: did you know even toddlers can have rank morning breath? I do now.) A large part of the middle of the night waking seems to be a train that loves to announce it’s presence to our section of the city very loudly after midnight every night.
But another part is simply the fact that it’s dark. It’s natural for a child to be afraid of the dark. One of our tasks as parents is to reassure our children, they are safe/secure, and darkness isn’t something to be afraid of.
In Matthew 5:14, Jesus says “You are the light of the world…” We live in a world that is deeply in need of light. We want to raise our children in such a way, that when they find themselves surrounded by darkness, they aren’t frozen by fear. That they would be able to boldly, or peacefully, reflect the light of the Father. Just as the moon reflects the sun, and seems to be a source itself, but is actually only a giant mirror. So we pray that our babies become children and youth and adults who naturally reflect the love and New Life found in Jesus Christ.
Our children are naturally unsure of how to respond to darkness. It’s by our response as parents, and our comforting encouragement that they have what it takes, that they learn to be comfortable in it. But we wouldn’t want to walk into our kids room at 2pm, to find all the shades drawn, and them wearing sunglasses. Even though we want them to be comfortable in darkness, we want them to primarily live in the light.
It’s the same in their spiritual walk, and part of that comes by tempering the verse above with Genesis 1:3. Before there was anything at all, there was God. Into the formless void, God speaks for the first time “Let there be light”, and there was. We teach our children that they are not the source of light in the darkness, but can only reflect it as far as they are aimed well at the True source of light.
The hard part is, we must recognize that ourselves, and somehow humbly reveal ourselves as incomplete sources of light. To be vulnerable enough to our kids as they grow, that they know mommy and daddy are not the light. We may be able to help them, and reflect His light in their direction. But ultimately, they need to see that we depend on the presence and Spirit of Christ in our lives as well. Only then, will they have true peace in darkness…