Have you ever taught a two year old to share?
That’s a big focus in my household, right now. My little bear is as sweet as pie, but he isn’t around other kids his age very much (except at church), so his sharing skills really need some work. Lord, bless him. Gray and I have been making intentional efforts to try and teach him what it means to share and we’ve been careful to avoid saying things like, “that’s mine!” We try our best to model the behavior we want him to mimic, emphasizing our “pleases” and “thank yous” and making sure he sees little gestures that we hope communicate generosity, politeness, and just overall good character.
But, here’s the thing – he’s a toddler. Toddlers don’t like to share. It doesn’t come natural.
Last night, I sat in the nursery at church and watched him interact with another precious little boy who is just a few months older than him. For the most part, the two of them play together really well and there’s so many fun toys in the room, they don’t have too hard of a time finding things to keep them occupied. But, there were a few times that they would both want the same toy and had to be redirected, and when Landon was eating a little box of raisins, the most profound thought occurred to me.
I would say, “Landon, why don’t you share your raisins with Philip?” and he would hold out a raisin with a sheepish grin on his face. When Philip, clearly delighted that Landon was sharing a snack with him, reached out to take the raisin, Landon would snatch it back at the last minute and turn away!
I’m hoping and praying that he learns, and I’m trusting that he will, with time. But can I just tell you, friends, that in that moment, I saw myself and my unwillingness to give things to God. How often do we start to give something to God – whether it be our hopes, our dreams, our failures, our worries, our brokenness, or our plans – and then, for whatever reason, snatch it back with that white-knuckled control that always hurts us more than it helps us? What is it in our hearts that makes us think we can do it on our own? Is it a lack of faith? a lack of confidence that He is who he says He is? just plain stubbornness?
It never ceases to amaze me how Jesus can speak to us through our children. Just watching them can teach us so much about ourselves, about who we are called to be, and about the way Jesus has called us to love. I pray that my heart never becomes hardened to these little snippets, and that I’ll be able to instill a love of Jesus so deep in my little one’s hearts that they crave Him more and more every day.
Whatever it is that we’re holding onto today, friends, let’s just give it to God. Let’s lay it all at the foot of the cross!