As we were settling in for story time, my almost-three-year-old said something that astounded me:
“Tell me a God story.”
We had only just begun reading her stories from the Children’s Bible, and to be honest I didn’t know that she was even processing the stories beyond the usual preschool-bible characters. But she has already come to understand them as “God stories” and love them as such.
As a new parent I’ve often wondered when the idea of God starts to take root. I wondered if it would be too abstract for her for a while. I wondered how we’d teach her about God without layering in all those things about religion that parents inevitably teach that have more to do with themselves than about the holy. But maybe I was thinking too hard.
My former rector, George Adamik, often spoke of a story in which an older child asks a younger sibling to “tell me about God…because I’ve almost forgotten what God is like.” Richard Rohr suggests that this is why the Catholic church does first communion for first graders, because at that age they have just about completely forgotten about the mystery that was so intrinsic to their creation and to their being. At an earlier age, the idea of God just made sense.
Thanks to my almost-3 year old for reminding me how natural it is to ask for God stories.