So often I have to try to intentionally seek out those "teachable moments" for my children. It is difficult because, most of the time, those moments seem to occur at times when they are misbehaving, and they are getting in trouble. And then, it becomes increasingly difficult to treat it calmly as a "teachable moment", rather than getting angry and making it all about the "punishment".
However, there are those times, in the midst of all of the regular chaos of life, when the children end up pointing out a "teachable moment" to me, instead of the other way around.
The other day as we were driving down the road, no doubt in a hurry to get somewhere, I hear my 7 year old daughter gasp,
"Oh! Mommy look!"
My immediate instinct is to slam on the brakes and attempt to avoid hitting whatever might be in my way, although I am frantically searching for it and can't see anything.
Now, although I am not proud of it, I began yelling at her about how dangerous it is to yell things out like that when I am trying to drive and how she could have caused a crash, etc.
I have very obviously and visibly hurt her feelings and immediately I feel remorse for it and apologize to her and then attempt to explain it to her a little more calmly. Once I am sure she understands the concept, I ask her to tell me again what had gotten her so excited.
She is nervous about telling me, now that I have jumped all down her case. No doubt she is questioning herself and wondering whether or not it was all that important to make such a fuss that upset Mommy so much. I press her again, and tell her I really want to know what it was.
She timidly points to the rock wall on the side of the road and says, "I just saw that big mountain."
Well, now I am even more unimpressed. With an exasperated sigh, I say, "Oh. Okay. Yes, it is big, but it is not a mountain. It is just some rock that the construction workers had to blast through to make the road." And with that, I thought the conversation was over.
"No. I mean, I know it isn't a mountain, I just didn't know what to call it. But I meant to look at all of the layers."
"Yes, it's really neat looking, isn't it?" I say, distractedly, as I continue to drive.
But she is now determined to make her point. "Mommy, this was made from The Flood!"
Now it is my turn to gasp (to myself). I felt like I had just gotten a slap. Of course!
My beautifully perceptive daughter saw God's creation for what it was, an awe-inspiring reminder of a catastrophic event in human history that changed everything. In her sweet innocence, she could see something during an every-day commute that the majority of people, especially Christians, fail to see even when they are face to face with it.
It reminds me of an article I read in Answers Magazine, put out by Answers in Genesis:
Walking through a quiet forest, wading in the pounding ocean, standing on a mountain peak, or sitting silently before a crackling fire can turn our minds to thoughts of eternity, the meaning of life, and the greatness of God. Let's take time to meditate on these things and join the psalmist in declaring, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork." Psalm 19:1
All those layers in that rock on the side of the road were formed, not after millions and millions of years of evolution, but after weeks of raining and months of flooding over the entire face of the Earth. How easily this simple observation made by a child changed the way I looked at the world from then on.
It is amazing how hard I try on a daily basis to search for "teachable moments" to share with my children. Then in the blink of an eye, the tables have turned and with the pure, blind faith of a child, my daughter found a "teachable moment" to share with her mom.