"The dear children's toy"

On page 252 of "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy, speaking of Christian Science, says: "It is the dear children's toy and strong tower; the wise man's spiritual dictionary; the poor man's money; yea, it is the pearl priceless whereof our Master said, if a man findeth, he goeth and selleth all that he hath and buyeth it." To one who was considering prayerfully the great problem of how to teach little children the profound truths of Science, these words brought great inspiration. Realizing, as all earnest Christian Science mothers and teachers in our Sunday schools must, the great importance of this work, this fundamental trust, we are sometimes perplexed as to how to present the truth. We sympathize keenly with a child's dislike of being "preached at" and desire to avoid the mistake of making the unfoldment of Truth appear as a hardship or as an unpleasant duty. Children turn naturally, spontaneously, joyfully to their toys. They do not need to be coaxed or driven. Delight in their play is the very essence of it. And yet how prone we are to make hard work of our children's sacred and beautiful toy! Because we have found the assimilation of the truth at times hard, due to our false beliefs, we need not assume that the children must find it so.

"Children are more tractable than adults, and learn more readily to love the simple verities that will make them happy and good," writes Mrs. Eddy on page 236 of our textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Then if we find listlessness, indifference, or rebellion in their attitude toward instruction in spiritual truth, may it not be that we, in teaching them, have not balanced our sense of the importance of our task with an equally important sense of its joyousness? Is there anything to forbid a merry heart for the work? Is there not a stain of false theology in the suggestion that education in religion and lightness of heart do not go together?

A little boy of five, returning from Sunday school one morning, carelessly dropped his hat and coat into the nearest chair. Then, suddenly remembering something in his recent lesson, he caught them up and started for the coat closet, laughing, "'Thou shalt not steal'—thy mother's time!" A child who has been taught to regard spiritual truths as happy, everyday affairs does make of them a "strong tower." David said of God, "Be thou my strong habitation, where-unto I may continually resort." The writer was walking once with a little child whose understanding of Science was daily, naturally unfolding. In the path lay the lifeless body of a little bird. The child, regarding it casually, remarked, "I am glad the real bird is having a happy time." One thankfully realizes how naturally the truth can lift a child's thought above the mesmerism of centuries of fear and false beliefs. There is no better way to teach our children Christian Science than to live it and love it ourselves, for, as Mrs. Eddy says in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 185): "Truth, Life, and Love are formidable, wherever thought, felt, spoken, or written,—in the pulpit, in the court-room, by the wayside, or in our homes. They are the victors never to be vanquished."

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December 25, 1920

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