The Curious Case of Small Children

Kids are generally curious, right? Like, that’s an accepted fact as to how they naturally are? I’m still learning this stuff.

I suppose it makes sense, with an amount of inevitability: Although the world around them does not really change in size, their abilities to comprehend it grow continually, thus lending an increasing sense of scale and pleasant wonder to it all, which serves as self-incentive for further discovery.

As they see more, they want to see even more.

eyes

Seeing this wide-eyed wonder in my 16-month-old daughter, Charlotte, has been awesome. She seems to be so curious in all situations. I got to spend some quality Daddy Time with her recently and, even just in our own backyard, it was a delight to see how she explores the environment around her.

The sandbox is serious business.
The sandbox is serious business.

I didn’t think I’d be fond of this age. The joke with Molly about our kids was always, “Hey, you’re good with little kids, you can have ’em when they’re babies, I’ll come back into their life when they’re about 12 or so.”

Part of it, I think, was simply that I enjoy words — and I thought, if I can’t have a conversation with my child, I won’t be able to form as earnest of a connection.

That was dumb. I have a lot to learn, clearly, because even though Charlotte isn’t quite talking yet (she can sure babble, at least), she expresses herself quite well; not only in her vocalizations, but in her body language, her expressions, even the choices she makes. The same way we all do, I guess.

A partner in crime!
A partner in crime!

 

"A girl and her dog."
“A girl and her dog.”

She’s growing up too fast.

Rather, I guess the rate at which she is growing up is perfectly fine and appropriate, but I wish I could savor these years a bit longer. That’s normal too, right? Every week we notice new steps she is taking developmentally, new things she is trying and enjoying, new syllables she figures out and new ways she can throw a whiny fit.

daddy_time

Seriously, I was anxious about trying to be a father at this age. I was nervous. I still don’t think I’m doing super well, maybe in some areas, but on a simple level, I definitely like it a lot more than I thought I would.

Charlotte is old enough now to approach me with a book, and make it clear that she wants me to read it to her, and climb into my lap when I sit down to do so. And that sort of interaction means the world to me, already.

Little girl, big world.
Little girl, big world.

In a way, I get to be the curious one, the wide-eyed child again, learning an entire universe of New Stuff that other people (hi there, veteran parents) already find very basic. Of course it means a lot to you when your kid says “Daddy!” and wants to spend time with you. Duh.

So, yeah, the time passes too quickly, but I will savor what I can now, and I truly do look forward to future steps taken together.

Parenting is pretty awesome.

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
— Matthew 18:3

cute

Songs I Like: Do Not Move by David Crowder Band

This song came to my mind recently. I really like it.

On Sunday, pastor Paul preached on Colossians 3:1-4. He spoke of the journey to live in a Christ-centered fashion, setting our hearts on things above, etc. At one point, he mentioned this idea of having songs in mind, songs that speak truth when you need it.

There are many classic hymns I enjoy, and other songs I could write about, perhaps revisit someday.

But today, I want to talk about Do Not Move.

 

Released in 2005 on the A Collision album (which is a superb experience overall), Do Not Move is a fun little foray into the sometimes-beleaguered Christian rock scene. Stuffed full of crunchy guitar work, synth oddity, and swelling vocals, DNM is a distinctive track — unusual, even. You can appreciate it at face value for its bold sound or consider its words for personal interpretation. In my case, it holds sentimental value as well.

It even has lyrics!

I don’t want to move
And I don’t think I could
I don’t want to move
And I don’t think I should
I don’t want to move
No, I don’t want to move
I don’t want to move
And I don’t think I could

Breathe in deeper now
Breathe in deeper now
Breathe in deeper, breathe in now

The costliest of costs
The deadliest of loss
The wonder of the cross
The breath of life that stops
The hope of heaven bought
The wonder of the cross
The wonder of the cross

Breathe in deeper now (the wonder of the cross)
Breathe in deeper now (the wonder of the cross)
Breathe in deeper (the wonder of the cross)
Breathe in now
I don’t want to move

I like the way the words play with dichotomy: Costly death set against wondrous hope. Think, move. Could, should.

For me, the themes of stillness and breathing bring to mind Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.” This is a good reminder for me.

I first encountered Do Not Move back in my days as a summer camp counselor. We used it for a skit that a handful of us performed as part of the opening ceremonies for the overnight session each week.

My role was the part of a demon. Throughout our performance and its Crowder-fueled cues, my tale was that of a tempter who successfully captured a human soul, only for my evil plot and that of my demonic comrades to be outdone by the overpowering work of Christ, despite our efforts to beat and even kill the illustrious interloper.

Quite a story arc to cast against 326 seconds of background music.

I suppose that sort of raw efficiency fits within the grand tradition of Gospel Presentations Intended for an Audience of Youth, though. I always enjoyed those sorts of plays. Perhaps even excessively, at times: I remember being told one week that it was “a bit much” when I used black face paint to draw upside-down crosses on my cheeks.

If I wish to, I can remember the that stage in these opening notes, in that chapel, in front of a captive audience, trying to bring myself to serve earnestly in that moment, in that ministry. If I am honest, I can recall it pretty darned vividly.

Nowadays, I would just as gladly accept being ministered to, and it is in the day-to-day present labor that this tune can still play a part in my life. My stage is no longer in a summer camp chapel, but in my workplace, my home, and elsewhere, all the while still called to perform, in a way.

Ultimately, however, I am fond of this song simply for its energy, the way it… compels me to move (!). There are plenty of other musical examples available for this motivational purpose, even in the worship arena, but this one has stuck with me especially.

The wonder of the cross.

Gymnastic Jesus

I believe that Jesus encompasses more than we could ever fully discuss.

In my own modest attempts to encapsulate the Almighty, there is one particular tidbit I keep coming back to. If you have known me for long enough, this is likely a bit you have heard before.

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When I was a child, I heard about this idea that Jesus could do anything. I would hear this expressed in classic Bible stories: Jesus can grant sight to a blind man, he can walk on water, he can even raise the dead.

“With God, all things are possible.” This is the verse (Matthew 19:26) they unpack in Veggietales’ Dave and the Giant Pickle. In this segment, Larry the Cucumber is shown to struggle with this thought as he asked, in a way I found unforgettable, “Do you think God would turn me into a chicken?” Why not? God can do anything, yeah?

In an interpersonal sense, we learned that when we pray, Jesus hears us. There was no limit on how many people he could hear, or what languages he understood. This Savior we learned about was an all-powerful, limitless figure.

How could a child, a boy like me, wrap his mind around that grand concept?

… Honestly? Whenever I came across the sentiment of Jesus being able to do anything — I always imagined him doing cartwheels.

No, seriously!

I would visualize myself looking out the living room window and catching a privileged glimpse of Christ performing effortless, flawless cartwheels in our yard.

Why? Because I couldn’t do cartwheels. [ Still can’t, as long as we’re being honest. ] I think there is a lot to be said on the idea that we often measure God against our weaknesses (the Bible may even speak to this as well, hm), but as a kid, that was the illustration I gravitated toward for years to come. Jesus doing cartwheels. Because I couldn’t.

That’s kinda silly, right? Childish, even.

I can’t help but still think, though, I guess, just sorta wonder a little bit, if Jesus will greet me in Paradise with a deft little cartwheel. Can you imagine that? Just for me. Just to  delight me all the more, in a way only he could.

I can see him yelling “ERIC!!!” across a palatial courtyard, with an impropriety only an old friend could muster, before catching my sight and performing that long-awaited divine cartwheel, my Heavenly eyes watering with joy beyond measure before we embrace in a fit of fond laughter.

I mean, I doubt that’s how it works; but, hey, Jesus can do anything.

New blog: Faith, Family, Fun

This is a new personal blog I am starting.

It has been a while since I have had a personal blog, yet I still enjoy writing informal thoughts, so I figure this will be a good space for me to dive into from time to time. I may not even stick around, but I believe this is worth trying.

Faith, Family, Fun: These are my highest values, my most important priorities, in life. This is not to say that my aim was just to form a strict ranking here, no; but, to be clear, I will be writing about my faith in Jesus. I will be writing about my immediate family. And… I will be writing about whatever else I want to, frankly, and that will be fun for me.

I look forward to tinkering with the theme and branding a bit until this feels more like a cozy online home. More so, though, I look forward to trying to place words into meaningful sequences.

I hope you enjoy your visits here.

You can also follow me on Twitter: @FFF_Blog.