Looking for inspired answers to developmental disabilities like ADHD?

Sarah Hyatt, C.S.B.

In this chat, Sarah Hyatt invites listeners to have “a heart in protest” when they see a child with a disability. She says that whenever we see a child with one of these conditions, it’s natural to want to help the child, to help the caregivers, and to help as healers. Referring to a statement in the book of Jeremiah, she notes that God promises to put His law in humanity’s “inward parts, and write it in their hearts” (Jer. 31:33). Sarah affirms that “God’s law of love is right there in our hearts and we’re protesting the legitimacy of each one of these developmental difficulties that seem so real and so threatening.” She also speaks out of her own experience when she was a camp counselor working with a child who was identified with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Among the conditions that site visitors asked about were Asperger’s, which is a type of autism, ADD, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), adult alcoholism associated with those conditions, fetal alcohol syndrome, sleep disorders related to ADHD, and autism.

The transcribed text has been edited for clarity.

Rosalie Dunbar: Hello everyone. Welcome to another spirituality.com live question and answer audio event. My name is Rosalie Dunbar, and I’ll be your host for the next hour. Our topic today is “Looking for inspired answers to developmental disabilities like ADHD?” Our guest is Sarah Hyatt, a practitioner and teacher of Christian Science in Charleston, South Carolina. Sarah has been in the public practice of Christian Science for the last twenty years, and has been our guest before. It’s so nice to have her here again. Sarah, do you have some thoughts to get us started?

Sarah Hyatt: Hi, Rosalie, thanks for having me on this afternoon, and I’m delighted to be able to be with each one who’s joining us over the Internet in a wonderful opportunity to think about how we can help those who are dealing with children with developmental difficulties. I was touched by something that Mary Baker Eddy wrote in a letter to her Church at one point, where she spoke of her heart being “wholly in protest” [see The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 134] about something. And I thought how many of us feel that heart in protest when we see a child with a disability, we want to help. We want to help the child, we want to help the caregivers, we want to help as healers. I found this wonderful thought in Jeremiah. It’s verse 31:33 where it talks about God putting His law in our inward parts and writing it in our hearts. And I thought God’s law of Love is right there in our hearts, and we’re protesting the legitimacy of each one of these developmental difficulties that seem so real and so threatening in our experience. And we want to come together as healers. So I hope you’re all joining in that thought, and in that sense of just having that heart in protest, and we’re going to work together to see if we can come up with some inspired ideas, and let God lead us in our prayers this afternoon.

Rosalie: Thank you, Sarah, and we have a large number of questions already, but we do welcome more, so if you’ve just joined us, please feel free to send your question in. This is from Julie in Bellevue, who says: “What are some of the ways we can help friends whose children are suffering from attention deficit disorder?

Sarah: Well, Julie, I think one of the best ways is to ask yourself, how I’m identifying the child in question. And how I’m identifying the parents or the caregivers or the teachers that are working with this child, because the only place we can really change anything, is in our own thinking. I love the idea in Christian Science that we live in a thought universe, because God is infinite, divine Mind. And what we’re thinking about others, makes a huge difference in their experience with us. I had an experience that showed that in working with a child who had been diagnosed with ADD, at that time. He was a little twelve-year-old red-headed boy, and he was very difficult for people to deal with, and I was working with him as a camp counselor, just wanting with all of my heart to help him. And as I prayed, the thought that kept coming to me, was “remove the label in your own thinking.” And so I decided that I was just going to see this child without the labels, even if it was just the label of “red-headed troublemaker” which we sometimes hear. And I was willing to see that I could remove any label that didn’t address this child as a spiritual creation of God. In the “Glossary” of Science and Health, where Mary Baker Eddy gives spiritual definitions of Biblical terms, she defines children and she says “the spiritual thoughts and representatives of Life, Truth, and Love” (p. 582). So, you know, as I went through that summer just loving that little boy, and looking for ways that he represented Life, Truth, and Love, his behavior in my presence was just always wonderful. And I know that it helped his parents to see this possibility for him. And then, of course, you can pray about the right human ways to help someone, by just asking God: Is it’s right to volunteer here? Can I volunteer my services for a meal, for an outing? And let God lead you, but that love for humanity, and the love for the children, will certainly take you in a right direction.

Rosalie: That sounds very helpful. Janie in Newport Richey, Florida, says: “I have a twenty-year-old that isn’t working or in college. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s. We have told him he must work or go to school in order to remain in the house, but as of yet he is doing neither. I’m open to suggestions.”

Sarah: Well, Janie, I think that where I would begin is the idea that “The intercommunication is always from God to His idea, man” (Science and Health, p. 284). That’s a quote from Science and Health, but it establishes a spiritual fact: that God is never separated from His children, and no label of a disease has ever separated your son from his ability to hear what his Father-Mother, God, is directing him to do. I think so often we feel like it’s incumbent upon us to make our children do something. Even if they don’t have a label, we’re often tempted to go in that direction. And yet, when we start to go back to the idea that God alone is creator, and that he has never put His children up for adoption, so to speak, by dropping them down to earth and putting them in our care and saying, “Now, here, you take care of this problem child.” We begin to see that instead of trying to get God to figure out an answer to our problem and tell us what that answer should be, we, instead, want to listen for God-inspired ideas that show us a different view of this young man. And know that he can hear what God is saying to him, because God does have a purpose for him. This child has value, not only in God’s eyes, but in the world’s eyes. Sometimes we have to keep cleaning off the mist on our glasses, so to speak, in order to see more clearly what that divine purpose is. But it’s there, and your prayers, insisting that he can hear and respond only to God’s voice, speaking to the human consciousness—we actually call that voice the Christ, that “true idea voicing good” [see Science and Health, p. 332]. Just know that your son can hear that voice, and respond to it. And when we put down our foot with that heart in protest, we protest that something called Asperger’s can control these children, keep them from hearing that voice, keeping them from knowing how fully wonderful, valued, useful, necessary, they are in God’s kingdom, and therefore have to find a place in the world where they can show those qualities in whatever degree they’re capable of. But we’re just not going to accept that that label is there, and he’s cut off from the world.

Rosalie: I think, too, that having a feeling of compassion—I know it must be quite frustrating at times, but also given that the individual is dealing with this issue, to just gently try to include compassion for the situation with the child, and recognize that he may have some things he’s working his way through, and it may not be always obvious that he’s trying, but he may actually be trying.

Sarah: Right. Those sorts of things are kind of hard for us to know, but it helps me to see that no individual wants to be in a place of darkness. No individual wants to be without the social skills or empathy for others that he needs. No one wants to feel that they just want to lock themselves in their room and close the door, even though that may be the thought that they seem to be expressing at that moment. If they understood the options of accepting a different view of themselves and letting go of these limitations, they would be happy to do so. They would be delighted to give up this false view, but it’s incumbent upon us, who know that it’s a false view, to be compassionate towards them, to be kind, to be supportive, without enabling them just to continue in those patterns of behavior without breaking out of them. So our prayers that they can hear what God needs them to know and understand—and we don’t have to outline what that is, which to me is a very precious part of it—will lead to healing results. Thank you for adding that, Rosalie.

Rosalie: Oh thank you for adding what you just said—that was great. Karen in Vietnam is telling us: “We adopted a little boy with fetal alcohol effects, who now at age ten has severe ADHD and learning issues. Without strong medication, he’s impossible to control—screaming, wild, out-of-control behavior. I want to rely on God and seek Christian Science treatment, but anything less than an immediate healing would make it prohibitive to take him off his medication in order to use Christian Science.”

Sarah: Well you can use Christian Science anytime. You’re dealing here with your thought about him at this point—and you’re not on medication. So you can certainly continue to pray, to talk to God, to cherish this child’s right to be free of this. This is where the heart does protest. Fetal alcohol syndrome is so absolutely unfair to this young man, who never did anything except be born, and the idea that he was born to this mother and she did that, and now he has to pay a penalty for it, and our heart in protest, and a heart full of compassion and love for this child, can say: “This is not what God has created. This is not what God has in store for this child.” And we can make the separation, and say that those events that seemed to occur during the time when his mom was pregnant with him, did not determine who he was. One of the more startling ideas that I’ve found in Christian Science, which had its basis in the Bible, was the idea of pre-existence, as well as post-existence. Most Christians agree that we will survive and live on after death in a different form, but not as many understand what Jesus said when he said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). And I think that he was showing us our pre-existence. And your son, adopted as he is, is still God’s precious child. God doesn’t know a biological child, an adopted child, He only knows His own ideas. He knew this child before his human mom and dad ever met, and that child was perfect in God’s care. And we’re insisting that that perfection did not change, because of God’s unchangeable goodness. So we protest, right in the face of these terrible symptoms, and insist that this child can know his spiritual identity—that we can know it for him. And I actually found a healing—it’s in the Christian Science Sentinel from April 18, 2005, of a young man who was adopted who did have fetal alcohol syndrome. Look up the article called, “A young life restored,” by Linda Bargmann from that April 18, 2005 Christian Science Sentinel.

Rosalie: We have actually have two of them on the Website now. “A young life restored” is on the spirituality.com, and we have another one called, “Peeling back the labels” that is written by Colleen Douglass, and that’s from the February 18, 2008 issue of theChristian Science Sentinel. So both of those are on the Website, and they should offer you some helpful thoughts. They’re both dealing with different aspects, and Colleen Douglass’ is called, “Peeling back the labels.”

Moving on to someone who is writing from Indiana: “My grandson displays some of the symptoms of ADHD. When he and I were younger, when he was two or three, I was very attentive to him, and played with him almost every week. I enjoyed it for the most part, it was helpful to him, and it was fun. Now six years later, I find his hyper-activeness annoying. I’m too old to do all the things I used to do with him and be his playmate. We both need to get beyond that stage. Any suggestions?”

Sarah: I love the idea that you realize that it’s both of you who need to get beyond that stage, because it sounds like there are two labels that need to be removed here. One, that you’re too old, and the other one, the attention-deficit and hyper activity disorder labels from him. It’s such a wonderful thing that you even want to do it. Some people just get annoyed, and they cut that individual out of their lives. Or they keep doing it with a chip on their shoulder. And just the very fact that in your heart of hearts, you want to be able to interact with, and help this grandson is such a pure motive that you know that your common Parent, your divine Father-Mother, God, is there guiding and loving both of you. I think as you have your grandson over, if you spend some time before he comes doing what I call “identification work,”—make sure that you’re identifying him without that label. Identifying him as having one creator, and having been made in the image and likeness of God, know that he can respond only to the voice of the Christ leading him in right activities and right directions. And I even did this in my classroom when I taught, when I had some hyper-active students who were diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, and just insisted that they could be obedient—that in their heart of hearts they wanted to be, and that they knew how. And that no label that had been placed on them could keep them from responding to that love of Christ. And I found that that made a great big difference in the harmony in my classroom. I don’t claim that it healed every one of them, or even any of them. But it certainly made a difference for them during that time they spent with me. And so your love for your grandson, your desire to do this—these are motives that God will bless.

Rosalie: Thanks. Sally in Raleigh wrote: “Would you address the symptom of defiant behavior which is many times associated with ADHD, and how would a Christian Scientist handle it?”

Sarah: Well, there’s not just one flat answer that you can do when everyone is defiant and you just come up and say, “OK, here’s the blanket answer.” But the wonderful thing about having a God who is the divine, infinite Mind, is that He knows the specific solution that we need at any given moment. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy includes a line that’s also on the front wall of many Christian Science churches, where she says, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (p. 494). Our human need at that moment is for wisdom, for insight, for spontaneity, for freshness, and as we’re just reaching out to God with our whole heart, again, in protest that this is not who this individual is, we can do what Christ Jesus did when he healed. In Science and Health on page 476, right at the bottom, Mrs. Eddy writes that “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. . . . and this correct view of man healed the sick.” When I first started studying that sentence it was just so important to me to see that Jesus was seeing the perfect man right where that sinning mortal man was. I was dealing with the issue of an alcoholic dad, and so it was something that I had to face on a daily basis. And I was really struggling to say, “OK, God, what are You seeing here?—because this isn’t it. What can I do to help?” And I found that those simple prayers of reaching out to God for help with that sense of knowing that this isn’t God’s will, God would never want His children to struggle, never have them controlled by some other power other than good. And when my heart protests in that direction, and reaches out to God, then inspired solutions come. Sometimes I don’t see the inspiration in them, or even that they were good solutions until down the road. It sometimes feels like, “My gosh, did I really say that?” or “that didn’t seem to help.” And yet, you found out later that it did. So just keep loving, keep wanting, treasuring, the opportunities to correct this behavior in your own thinking, and see that perfect child right where that defiant one seems to be.

Rosalie: Now this is from someone who—it’s a little bit off our subject, but it’s kind of related. He’s writing from New York and says: “As a creative person, I seem to struggle with many creative ideas coming to me, and not knowing how or where to start. I start a project and then stop and then start another project. How can I remain focused to see a project through to completion? I feel this is a world belief of creative people, that we have a hard time focusing on one thing. Do you have spiritual insights to shed on this issue and how to break the cycle?”

Sarah: Part of breaking the cycle is being willing to give up the label that “I’m a creative type.” We’re not types. Yes, you have wonderful creative abilities, and that is not to dismiss them, but to stop associating them with a type of personality. I was telling Rosalie, when we were talking about this chat, that when my children were young, they were always being tested for this, that, or the other, in school, and I decided if the school system was going to label my children, they were at least going to be good labels! And so I wanted my child to be tested for “gifted” and “talented” and he was, and he was in a program for gifted and talented and I’m thinking, “Isn’t this wonderful? This is really good.” Until the very first day of this gifted and talented class, they actually met, and they sent home a folder for Mom, and in it was all the behavior problems to expect from gifted and talented children. I’m going, “Wait a minute. I want the good things from that label and I don’t want the bad things.” Maybe it’s the wrong label. And I think that if you just change your starting point, just a little, and treasure your creativity as God’s expression of Soul in you, in an individual way, that you can see that because you’re the expression of Soul—capital S—one of the seven synonyms that Mary Baker Eddy found in the Bible for God that she said showed the completeness of God’s nature. You can also see that God is divine Principle, and creative people aren’t just expressions of Soul, and not Principle. If there are seven synonyms, then Principle and Soul are talking about different aspects of the same thing, and you would have to be expressing all of those qualities that come with those names, as the image and likeness of your creator. So if you’re the image and likeness of Principle, you would be subject to divine law, a right sense of order, that would still include spontaneity and freshness and color, beauty—all of the wonderful qualities that we associate with Soul. But they would come right together and be inseparable.

Rosalie: Patty in Washington is following up a little bit on the fetal alcohol syndrome question. She says: “Very helpful ideas. My adopted daughter has some sort of claim that may be associated with that, never been diagnosed. She has troubles in staying focused and really retaliates when reminded to do what is right and to stay on task. Her principal suggested it is like having a short-circuit in the brain. The principal knows I am a Christian Scientist. I’ve been struggling with this brain issue because I know it isn’t my daughter. It is her resistance to truth, yes, defiance, but is it the possibility of a short-circuit in her brain?”

Sarah: It’s also not your daughter, period, with the defiance. The defiance is not hers either, anymore than the short-circuit in the brain is hers. Thought is just not in a material brain. I was actually on a radio program with a neurosurgeon, who remarked during the course of that interview, that he had done hundreds plus of brain surgeries over decades, and he had never once located in a brain the place where thought occurred. He just saidconsciousness and brain are two different things. And doing all these neurological repairs and everything he was doing, he was not giving up the idea that brain governed a material body, but he was coming up with a very key idea—and that is, consciousness and understanding are absolutely independent of the belief of a material brain. The idea is that our body has symbols that represent various qualities that we have as children of God. And so we would have a brain just as a representation or a symbol of divine intelligence, thoughtfulness, control. But it’s a symbol. If the symbol is taken away, the qualities aren’t. It’s just the symbol. I’ve thought about it often with my wedding ring. Now that is a symbol of my marriage, but if I lost it, my marriage isn’t over. The size of it doesn’t indicate the quality of my marriage. How long I’ve had it on my finger doesn’t make any difference about the sense of commitment that I have to my husband, so all of those are just qualities that are associated with that. So if we take brain out of the picture and go instead to God as being the divine Mind, able to communicate to your daughter from within—the Bible says that Jesus told us that the kingdom of heaven is “within us,” within reach of our consciousness right now, Mary Baker Eddy says. So it’s reachable, regardless of what the human examination of a brain might show. We’re not limited by what that is. But to take your daughter in thought, and lift her up each day to being what Mrs. Eddy called in a hymn, “Bless Christmas Morn,” as the “gentle beam of living Love, / And deathless Life!” (No. 23). And just know that she is a joint-heir with Christ (see Rom. 8:17). She’s a “gentle beam of living Love.” And then a little further down it talks about her being free of all “cruel creed, or earth-born taint”—everything that says that she is a mortal, that she is created by these human parents who left her with this syndrome, and that she has to struggle. And the other thing, Biblically, that bothers me about that is the idea that the children are being penalized for their parents’ sins. In Ezekiel it says plainly that we’re not supposed to use the proverb anymore that said, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge” (18:2). It goes on to say what the parents do, they’re going to pay for that, and what the children do, that will be between them and God, but no more are you supposed to say that the parents have done something, and the children pay a penalty. That’s a “cruel creed” and it’s an “earth-born taint” and you can separate that from your darling daughter, and you’re doing her the most good that you can by insisting that this is not her history, and it’s not her present, it’s not her future, it’s not who she is. She is that “gentle beam of living Love, / And deathless Life!”

Rosalie: And wouldn’t that basically work backwards so that no parent has to feel guilty that they have in some way done something that has made their child this way? Nor does their grandparent have to think that they did something that made the mother that way, etc., etc.? I mean doesn’t that lack of “earth-born taint” go really all the way back from a spiritual standpoint?

Sarah: It certainly does, and that’s an important point, because a lot of time parents who have children who are struggling, feel that they must have done something when the mother was pregnant, or they’ve passed down some hereditary condition. And they would give anything not to have done that. I remember one woman talking to me about a child and saying that her husband had said to her, “What kind of monster did we create?” And your heart goes out to the parents, and to the child, because it’s so important that we get back to basics. One of the places that I recommend that people who are wanting to pray about this, go to study, is the chapter on “Creation” in Science and Health, because there’s so much in there that just insists that God is the only creator, and we have not been made in the image and likeness of mortals. We’re letting grandparents off the hook, and ancestors further back that then. We’re letting parents off the hook, and we’re just going back to that straightforward relationship that is perfect God and perfect man—Father-Mother, God, and us as children. And that’s the only parent-child relationship that matters.

Rosalie: Right. And speaking of the chapter on “Creation,” you can read Science and Health on our Website, so after the chat if you’d like to go to that chapter on “Creation,” you will find it right there. Now this is from Enid in Massachusetts. She says: “For a child with a diagnosis of ADHD, who is taking medication and receiving therapy, what is the best way extended family can pray to support healing?”

Sarah: Well, I find that in those cases where I’ve seen struggles in my own family, and I’ve wanted to pray about them and I know that they’ve gone a different route than Christian Science would suggest would be the most helpful, I still want to support their love for their child, and I want to support that child’s right to be free of any imposition of label. So what matters most to me is what I’m thinking about that child and about that family. Am I just holding onto the thought, “Well, they’ve chosen second best, and it can’t possibly be good enough?” Or am I willing to let go of all judgment about what they’re doing, let go of judgment of the human situation, and just love. Love as Christ Jesus did, love with that compassion. I love the idea that when Jesus healed the multitudes and people came to him over and over again for healing, he didn’t go up to them and say, “Now tell me what your medical regime is, tell me what you’ve been doing for this.” He didn’t say, “Go home and read the Torah, and let me know what you’re thinking about the inspiration from this passage.” He just had such compassion, and such love, that all he could see right there was that individual’s right to be a child of God, to be healthy, to be whole, to have sight, to be free of leprosy—whatever the claim was—he separated that claim from that individual. And it was his love for them that made the difference. So let that compassion impel your prayers. Again, I think that heart in protest is the most valuable thing that you bring to your prayers. When you’re just protesting that this could not possibly be what God would want for this child or for this family. And you can find healing just in your own thought, and then it reaches out into the world wherever there is a receptive thought, and we never know how far that is.

Rosalie: Deanna in Charleston, South Carolina, says: “Last year our son’s teacher tried to suggest that he might have ADD. As we enter a new school year, how can I best prepare myself spiritually?”

Sarah: I love that question, because I dealt with that with my own youngest son. I didn’t have anybody ever tell me that they thought he had ADD, but I saw how active he was, and I was just very alert in his early schooling years to defend his right not to be labeled, and to know that each individual who was going to see him and interact with him, could only know about him what was absolutely true—what God knew about him. And it’s right for young people to be active. It’s also right for them to be obedient, to be able to sit still when they needed to. And so I wanted to see in my own son a balance of these qualities, and to see that nobody could be tempted to put a label on him that would be harmful to him in his development. I loved the definition of develop that I found. I first looked in the1828 Noah Webster Dictionary and develop meant at that time “to uncover, to unfold, to lay open.” And I wanted to know that my son was just laying open, unfolding an increasing sense of his spiritual identity, and that was all that anyone could see about him. And then I found in a much newer dictionary “to set forth or make clear by degrees or in detail” as a definition for develop. And, then also, “to work out the possibilities of.” And so I saw that as a challenge—to think about how I was working out the possibilities of my son’s being, how to treasure these qualities and yet see them in a perfect balance and expressed in right times and right activities. And it resulted in teachers who were wonderfully supportive of him as he went through school and yes, he was always very active, but he never got into trouble and he was never labeled, and he did learn to be able to sit still and finish his work. So that was also a very important part of it.

Rosalie: This is from Linda, who says: “My brother has ADHD as an adult and drinks excessively. He says it soothes the hyperactive aspect of the condition and calms him. A friend who works for an alcohol rehab clinic says about seventy percent of their clients have ADD or ADHD or a similar condition. Any ideas on how to pray specifically about this ADHD and addiction aspect? The excessive alcohol will eventually ruin my brother’s health, yet he really doesn’t want to quit drinking, as it calms him. He says it’s not like overeating where you eventually get sick of the cake you’re bingeing on. The alcohol just makes you want more and more.

Sarah: It is quite a different thing, but how heart-rending that so many of those people in alcohol-recovery programs are ADHD diagnosed. It shows us the impelling reason to defend our children as they’re coming up—not to just abandon the adults, of course, but to make sure that we’re defending every child’s right not to have to wear that label. I was thinking about attention deficit disorder, and looking at the meaning of the different words.Deficit was “a want, a deficiency, a lack.” And a disorder was “a lack of order or irregularity; a violation of laws.” And then hyperactivity: “state or condition of being excessively or pathologically active.” “Altered or caused by a disease” was whatpathological meant. And I found just looking up those words gave me lots of ideas about how to pray. And someone a long time ago had told me that every problem we faced was a problem of lack. I began to really work with that, and to see what it meant. And I discovered that first of all it means a lack of knowledge of God, because we don’t understand how powerful God is, and how perfect His creation is, and how we do not have to accept these limitations of labels on any individual. So if we work on our knowledge of God—the more we understand about God, the more we understand about man as His image and likeness. And that helps us get rid of this sense of deficit. “The admission to one’s self,” Mrs. Eddy says, “that man is God’s own likeness sets man free to master the infinite idea” (Science and Health, p. 90). She also talks about us “. . . broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis” (p. 258). She also talks about the right understanding of God actually enlarging our capacities (see p. 258). The more we accept that God is the divine Parent of each one, whether it’s a child or an adult, we see that there doesn’t have to be that acceptance of a human history of this that says: “And now he’s caught because it wasn’t dealt with sooner, and it wasn’t healed, then he’s caught with it now and he can’t get rid of it.” That would deny God is I AM—God as infinite, omnipresent Being. And what He’s being, is man and the universe. And it has to be good, because God saw that everything that He made was very good. So I think if you start, maybe, with just looking up those words in the dictionary and seeing where that leads you in your thought, and again, let that heart in protest just impel you. Not to stop praying about it until you feel a sense of peace, because it is right for your brother to be free of the false suggestion that alcohol brings him peace, because every suggestion of evil tries to come to us, saying that there’s some benefit in doing it. And man is wiser than that. He cannot be deceived if he’s at one with divine Mind. And he is, because God says so. So we have to defend our right to experience that oneness here and now.

Rosalie: I think you’ll love this next message. It’s from Judith in Reno, Nevada: “Wow. Thank you for that idea of a heart in protest in relation to disability. As a parent of a child with a supposed disability I’ve found so much hope and encouragement in my study of Christian Science. An important lesson I learned was that while I still deal with the overall challenge of disability, it’s important not to neglect any other lesser challenges—illness, limitations, etc. As with many parents, my son sees a physician on a yearly basis, and she always remarks on how healthy he is. Because you take your child to a physician, does not mean they are cut off from healing in Christian Science.”

Sarah: Oh, that’s just beautiful. Thank you for sharing that, Judith. It’s so powerful to realize that God fills all space, and He never stops at the door of a doctor’s office or a hospital. So if we’re required to take our children there, or even if it just seems like the right way to calm the human fears in the neighborhood or in our school system, we’re not being cut off from Christian Science help, because we’re not being cut off from God. Rosalie, I’ve said more than once, I wouldn’t be a member of a religion that told me I couldn’t pray about something. I’ve always felt like we can talk to God about anything. And talking to God, and listening for answers, that’s prayer. And it may not be the specific form of Christian Science treatment that would put a child in danger if they are taking medication for a particular illness, it may not be the type of treatment that would interfere with what that hope is that the people who are giving him the drug—the hope they have for that drug—but at the same time, we can still always pray. So I’m glad that heart in protest helped you, because it’s something that just keeps impelling me day by day.

Rosalie: This if from Nate in Boston: “My child attends a private school. Last year the school asked that he get tested for a learning disability. At the time I had no idea what I was getting our family into. He was officially diagnosed with ADHD. My wife is not a Christian Scientist, and at the moment I do not have an answer as to next steps. My wife and I clearly differ in terms of the reality of the situation.”

Sarah: And that’s, of course, something that you get to work out with God. Nobody can tell you exactly what your next steps are supposed to be. But what I’ve found when I’ve been working with things where it seems that two people are involved in the decision-making for a child, that the highest standpoint I can take is that God is infinite, divine Mind, the All-in-all, and He communicates to each and every one of us. And that He simply would not, in His goodness, kindness, and compassion towards His creation, tell one individual: “This is absolutely the right answer,” and tell somebody else: “No, it’s this answer,” and they’re in conflict. My protest against that particular model has often led to inspired solutions, where both people felt comfortable with whatever compromise or totally off-the-wall solution z showed up, because there’s that expectation that God can meet the needs of all three of you, and will do so in a way that’s loving and kind and meets each of you right where you are in your spiritual growth and understanding.

Rosalie: Missy in Jerseyville says: “Could you give us some ideas in how we can continue having that heart in protest when it’s so tempting to get used to a disability, whatever the label is. My heart tells me that it’s not helpful to be complacent in the face of any disability.”

Sarah: You’re quite right. And yet it is tempting to just feel like, “Well, I have to deal with it, and I’m going to deal with it the best way I can and try not to get agitated.” But that isn’t the healing aspect of it. I think that part of our active living of Christianity is that that heart in protest isn’t something that we create. It’s something that God is just pushing us to acknowledge and live up to. Just the fact that you don’t want to be complacent, that you want that heart in protest to be more consistent, that’s a right desire. Guess who put that desire in your heart? Isn’t it God, the divine Mind, infinite Love, who’s leading you higher? Treasure the fact that God is creating that desire in you, and if God is creating that desire in you, and you desire to nurture it, then you’re working together, and God has never given us a right desire and then said, “I’m going to let you get off track” or “I’m not going to give you the ability or the talents or whatever it is you need to fulfill that desire.” It comes as a complete idea, the same way you get the whole carrot out of a carrot seed without having to add orange coloring.

Rosalie: [laughing] I love that. Well, you know, I wanted to also mention that there are certain benefits to doing the heart in protest. It’s not just that we’re doing all this work. I was privileged to know a young man named Scott, who had a number of disabilities, and it included shouting out, not always at appropriate times, and sometimes loss of control—temper and things like that—and he was regularly in a special class at school for children with those kinds of difficulties. And I can’t say that I was always happy, but gradually over the years as I got to know Scott, I really got to the point where I loved him dearly. And yet, even so, there were times when I just felt very frustrated by his behavior. But there were two things that were really important that I learned. One was, at one point he was visiting with his mother at our church—and it was a Christian Science church—and because of his unpredictable behavior I told the people who conducted the service that he might shout out unexpectedly and to just be prepared, and they said, “Oh, no problem. We really believe in the healing truth that we’re going to be reading and we’re happy to have him here. There’s no problem.” And sure enough he shouted out at the service, and the service went on, and everything was totally calm. But what was interesting to me was that he went to church with us several times while his mother was visiting in our area, and he only ever shouted out that one time. But at the end of every service the Readers—which is what we have in our church—both came and talked with Scott, and talked with him as one person to another, not as some defective person, but as a real spiritual idea, as beloved of God, and as an individual—and he responded to that. And later on, about a year or two later, his mother and Scott came again, and he did not shout out at all during the church service. So that was one thing that taught me a lot. But the second thing was, one day I was driving and I had had a kind of an unpleasant encounter with Scott, and was very distressed about it, and all of a sudden as I was really praying to just gain my equilibrium, I remembered that sentence you cited from Science and Health earlier: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick” (pp. 476-477). I found myself really required, spiritually, to really think deeply about what that means. What does it mean to see the perfect man? How could I see Scott as the perfect man, and not as a mortal? And what was the spiritual basis for Scott? And I saw his goodness and his love and his patience with himself, and recognized that the good that he had already accomplished in his life. And it’s interesting because when he was born, it was predicted he wouldn’t live past age two. But he actually lived into his twenties. It was amazing to me that that love of life, and of course the love of his mother and his family, surely sustained him because they were Christian Scientists, again, praying diligently about the many challenges he faced. But I saw the brightness of his eyes, and the intelligence and joy that were really there. I can’t say all my experiences with Scott were perfect after that, but I saw him differently, and I was never able to see him as a mortal being again. And so, just thinking deeply about what this statement means, was a very helpful thing. And I’ve continued to have contact with people with disabilities, and that experience with Scott taught me so much, and blessed me so deeply that it has helped me in all those other contacts. And so the heart in protest isn’t for naught. It changes everything. It changes yourself, and it changes all the opportunities you have to do good for others.

Sarah: Oh, Rosalie, that is so powerful, and it’s so true, and we each have the opportunity to participate in bearing witness to that spiritual, perfect man in every individual. And each church services should do that—and it’s across denominations. Wherever we are practicing our Christianity and looking to love as Christ Jesus loved, there should be healing in church services. I’ve found that, particularly in Christian Science churches where we read from the Bible and Science and Health as our Pastor, what’s coming forth is God’s Word, and we’re promised in the Bible that that Word goes forth and does not return unto Him void (see Isa. 55:11). And if we as church members are supporting that congregation when there are those in attendance who may be struggling with developmental difficulties, it’s a wonderful opportunity to express that expectation of healing. In my own church, here in Charleston, we’ve had a couple of individuals who’ve come in, who obviously were struggling as adults with certain developmental problems, and they have been so warmly welcomed and loved. One of them began to read Science and Health. He was without a job at the time that he began, and over the years that he’s been coming he has progressed so wonderfully. He’s given some beautiful testimonies, he’s talked about how many of the qualities of the disability he’s dropped off. And if you met him today, you would still see that he has some struggles that he’s dealing with, but I’m reminded of Mrs. Eddy’s statement in an article called “Pond and Purpose” [actually from “The Way”] in Miscellaneous Writings on page 359 where she says: “Growth is restricted by forcing humanity out of the proper channels for development, or by holding it in fetters.”

Rosalie: That’s great.

Sarah: Isn’t it? We can take off those fetters in church, and we can resist the urge to push somebody faster than they’re ready to go, and just let God develop, unfold, lay out the possibilities for us, and see those healings come. I love that healing sense of church that you mentioned there with Scott, because I know that was very valuable to him as well.

Rosalie: Well, that quote from “Pond and Purpose” was really quite wonderful. Thank you so much for including it.

Sarah: Glad to do it.

Rosalie: Christine in Philadelphia says: “Some children with the ADHD belief suffer from sleep disorders, and the use of sleep vitamins or herbal supplements for children are becoming more prevalent. Many of these supplements haven’t been fully tested regarding side effects, etc. How do you spiritually address the challenge of a child falling asleep at night or awakening during the night?”

Sarah: Well, I’ve just loved working with a particular Bible verse, and I don’t have it right at hand as far as the citation, but I know what it says. It says, “. . . thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet” (Prov. 3:24). And I’ve always prayed with that since I found it, for my own sleep, but I also prayed with it for my own children. I have one child who’s what we would label a night person, I guess—he just loves being up in the middle of the night. Unfortunately it started when he was born and it hasn’t stopped, so trying to deal with the sleepless nights was a challenge. But I felt that this label was an imposition on him as far as being able to get the right amount of sleep since the hours for school weren’t going to change. And so I did really work with that verse, and just know that it was right for him to be able to sleep during those hours, to be calm—and as I said, he was a very active individual. So I prayed about that, and it worked out in a couple of ways. A lot of times he just got the perfectly normal night’s sleep that you would expect. Other times he got up quietly in the night and stopped waking everybody else up, which was really helpful, and just totally rearranged his room, or worked on some homework that he had to do, or made some other good use of that time. I found a phrase in Science and Health that talks about, “The highest and sweetest rest, even from a human standpoint, is in holy work” (pp. 519-520). And I found that if we spend the time when someone is up, or can get them to spend the time, actually trying to express Godlike qualities—as my son was—in neatness or in order, and in fulfillment of responsibilities, than that was a good thing and he couldn’t be penalized for that by being tired all the next day. And that was what worked out. He did not have a problem sleeping in class, or feeling too tired to go to his baseball practice afterwards. It was perfectly normal. And then I found that I could get up early in the morning—I used to wake up around 5 a.m.—and I would spend the hour between 5 and 6 just praying for my children, identifying the qualities in them that I treasured, that I’d already seen expressed, identifying ones that I didn’t find so lovely and wanted to separate from them, and see were not a part of their true character and couldn’t control them. And I found that on days when I rolled over and went back to sleep, instead of doing that work, I actually was more tired than when I took that hour to work, and then claimed my freedom—that that time spent was more restful because it was in holy work, and it made the whole rest of the day easier anyway. So you might try some of those ideas and just see what works. But I find that when we’re talking about supplements, and side effects, and this effect, matter has all the power that we endow it with. So I try to take away the fear that a substance can either hurt or help my child, and then just know that the main, and only influence on him, in fact, is the divine. And that if I hold that relationship of Father-Mother, God, and perfect child in thought, and insist that my child, that’s who he is—and it’s, again, not trying to push it out of the proper role of development so that I’m saying he’s got to be absolutely perfect in behavior—but it’s just that expectation that he’s going to be expressing Godlike qualities. That should free him up from this challenge that he has difficulty sleeping because of a disorder. Disorder, again, meant “disobedience to law.” God is Principle, then His laws are laws of Life and they’re laws of Love, and they will be able to help that child sleep. And, for me, when I put my children to sleep, I made sure that the last thing we did before bed was to pray and to recognize and claim their spiritual right to a good night’s rest. Rest is an active part of God’s being. Mrs. Eddy writes that, “God rests in action” (Science and Health, p. 519). So the right action of sleep was what was needed and that’s what we found.

Rosalie: Thank you. Elaine in San Diego says: “I have a claim of adult ADHD and also used alcohol for years. God has freed me from the alcohol, but my challenge seems to be being able to stay focused on anything, including my Christian Science study. There’s also a claim of distractibility, and difficulty making decisions about how to use my time. How can I pray about this and stay more focused on prayer and study?”

Sarah: I think sometimes we have to resist the pull that we are distractible. I love the idea of focusing. When you’re looking in the mirror, and you want to see how you look, you look directly at yourself, and you check out your hair, you brush your teeth—whatever it is you need to do—it’s because you’re focused directly on it. And the Bible talks about us being the image and likeness of God. And the only way that we could fail to be focused on the original, would be if the original looked away. And God has never stopped looking at you, never stopped knowing you, never stopped causing you to be exactly like Him. And so I find the belief of distraction, as well as the one just of hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder, to be just a generic lie that’s more or less just floating around in human thought, because people believe that other people have it, until they get it, or someone in their family gets it. Mrs. Eddy tells us that we need to defend ourselves against that type of thinking by knowing that we do have the mind of Christ, and that we aren’t a victim, we aren’t a target. I like the idea of being “hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3) as the Bible says because there I’m visible to Truth, to God, to reality, to good, but I’m invisible to error, to distraction, to any of the claims that would say I can’t focus. So I find that trying to hide myself in Christ with God, making that kind of an effort that I make—and I get better at it—that it’s something that does eliminate the distractions. Other times, if I’m having a particularly hard time with a particular project, or something, in getting it done, and I find myself distracted and down the road doing something else and wondering how I got there, I would actually find a human way that would work for me to kind of just jar me back so I could get back to praying and doing what I needed to do. One of those human ways I think was suggested by Warren Bolon in an article in the Sentinel where he talked about hearing The Mother Church chimes on the hour—how often do they go, Rosalie?

Rosalie: I think it’s every hour.

Sarah: Every hour. He would just say at the top of the hour when he heard those, “Where’s my thought? What am I doing?” He’d take a couple minutes to pray and know that God was right there with him. Well, I took that idea and I said, “You know, this can work. I can set an alarm clock. If I’m having trouble finishing this, I’ll set the alarm clock to go off in fifteen minutes.” And I’ll say, “OK, where’s my thought?” And that was the human way that just prodded me to take that moment to say, “OK, God, what should I be doing?” And that helped make the focusing more easy, or make it easier until I just simply didn’t need the clock anymore.

Rosalie: That’s an interesting thought. Lauren in Charleston just sent us that reference from Proverbs that you were citing. It reads, “When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet” (Prov. 3:24).

Sarah: Thank you Lauren.

Rosalie: Mary is writing to say: “As a mom with a teen, who’s been told he has Asperger’s syndrome—a kind of high functioning autism—if I refuse to accept that label and hold firmly to his capacity to reflect all the qualities of divine Life, Truth, and Love, is it enough—especially if at times I find it hard to do? He does not want help from either a practitioner or any other kind of professional, but it does seem like he needs it.”

Sarah: And, again, sometimes we really aren’t able to articulate what we want. If you ask your child what he really wants, he would want to be free of the imposition of Asperger’s. And if the way to do that was through a practitioner, then there couldn’t be a disconnect between that first desire to be rid of the Asperger’s and the help that he needs—however that would come to him. So that can be part of your prayer—”God, however You want him to find relief from this,” then let him know it, and let him feel it. And I have found that part of my heart in protest began with the thought of Asperger’s, and just knowing that the thought here was obsessive compulsive disorder, along with the Asperger’s, that was apparently driving family members nuts. The thought just came to me: “It can’t be any fun for the kid. It just cannot be any fun for that dear child to be caught up in this type of behavior.” Of course he wants to be free. And so that had to be the beginning of my prayers—that they have not just accepted that this is who they are and they want to keep it. Everyone wants to be free of limits. I worked with the Bible verse, “ . . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (II Cor. 3:17). And I knew that that “Spirit of the Lord” had to be the power of Christ, Truth, to speak to that human consciousness in a way that that individual could respond to and separate that sense of: “That’s just the way I am, and I hate being this way” to “You don’t have to be that way. It is not a part of who you are.” So as you’re praying about the right way to provide help, that heart in protest that just wants to help, I find you turn that desire over to God. On the very first page of the chapter on “Prayer,” Mrs. Eddy writes: “Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds.” So turn that desire over to God, and then take her up on that promise that no loss is going to occur as you let God mould them and exalt them. You’ll be led in the right direction that will work for your child.

Rosalie: Sarah, we have about maybe seven or eight questions, are you game to stay with us a little bit longer?

Sarah: Sure, Rosalie, I’ll be glad to.

Rosalie: This is from someone with no name or location, but they say: “Even if I handle my own thought in the ways that you are suggesting, I often feel that the world thought regarding ADHD is so aggressive that it makes healing difficult to see. How can I better address world belief?”

Sarah: I think you’ve hit on a very valid argument there that we continue to hear. And yet the analogy that works for me is that one zero weighs no more than 25 zeros. It still is nothing. When I’m handling the thought of world belief, and everybody accepting something to be true, I find that it’s important that I shelter the individual that I’m praying for or praying about, and know that they, too, are “hid with Christ in God,” that they can only be influenced by divine Mind, and that the human mind with all of its claims cannot influence them. I actually love working with “A Rule for Motives and Acts” in the Manual of The Mother Church by Mary Baker Eddy where she asks members of her Church—and it’s something anybody can do whether they’re a member or not—”to watch and pray to be delivered from all evil.” And the last part of that, she lists about six things—”prophesying, judging, condemning, counseling, influencing or being influenced erroneously.” And to me that word erroneously modifies all six of the things that she tells us to pray to be watchful about. And so I pray to be watchful that I’m not accepting that I can be influenced by a mind apart from God, nor can the individuals that I’m praying for—whether they’re my own family members or someone who’s called me for help in the practice—to really shelter them, and know that they’re safe. And the reason I did that, it was just a silly, little example, but I was thinking about a man that I know who’s a concert pianist. He’s a Christian Scientist, and we were just chatting at one point and I asked him, I said, “Can you feel the difference in an audience? For example, if you were to go to one of the best places in the world like Carnegie Hall and everybody who came in was thinking, ‘This guy doesn’t belong there,’ would you be able to perform to your best level? At the same time, if you were brought into Carnegie Hall and everybody was told that you were a prodigy and you were wonderful, would you be able to tell?” And he said, “Oh, I can always tell what the audience is thinking right when I walk out.” But he pointed out that one of the things that he did was to know, before he walked out, that he was not someone who was subject to mental influences, other than the divine. And then he worked on knowing what his motive was and all of that that’s not relevant to our conversation. But I just love that sense of saying, “I’m not going to let myself be influenced by something that’s not true, not real, that dishonors God by saying there’s not just one God, one Mind—there is God and He’s a Mind, but then there’s minds many. And that really and truly just breaks the First Commandment. And we look at it in that light and we’re a little more willing to fight on that side.

Rosalie: Sue in Wisconsin says: “I’m a substitute teacher’s aide, and at times I work with ADHD students. How can I best work with these students within the limits of the school ideas?”

Sarah: You have a wonderful opportunity here to know that what you’re thinking about them, because it’s right thought, does influence and make a difference. You can’t of course treat their individual cases, you haven’t been asked to do that, but because it is a thought universe, dwelling and being hid with Christ in Mind, in God, you can take your thought with you. After all, it’s what Jesus took into the tomb and it was enough to raise himself from the dead. You take that thought with you into that classroom about these students and you take your expectations with you. And if you find you’re expecting it to be a difficult day, a day in which you’re going to be continually challenged by misbehaviors, you’re generally going to get what you expect. But if you can turn that around, and just pause before you go into the door—I love the concept of letting the Christ go in before me—and by that I mean just let the true idea of man be present right there before I walk in the room, and let me bear witness to that child that God has created, that God loves, right here. I also did a number of substitute days in special needs classrooms, and I found myself getting asked back for them continually because they loved the sense of calm that I brought into the room and the fact that I didn’t respond with anger, with inappropriate responses to the behavior of children, but I always felt God was right there with me, giving me inspired solutions to deal with whatever the difficulty was. It was not always smooth sailing, and I must say I bit my tongue and sat on my hands a couple of times, but it was still praying and listening and letting God provide the answers right there that moment. The wonderful thing about God being I AM, He’s there with you now.

Rosalie: Ellen in Boston just says: “No question, just a great deal of gratitude for all these great thoughts. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Sarah: You’re very welcome.

Rosalie: Connie in Dallas: “My niece has been labeled autistic and is given heavier doses of medications each year. Her family does not practice Christian Science, so how can I be the most helpful in this situation in supporting her family?”

Sarah: And, again, Love is the healer. It’s not just trying to manufacture love out of your own heart for this child and this family, it’s knowing that you are the reflection of divine Love, and the love that you’re loving them with is enough. It’s sufficient. We don’t ever know how far that pure love that just cherishes the spiritual identity of each individual, we never know how far that reaches, but it does reach far beyond even just the family and your dear niece that you’re thinking about. But just, every time they come to thought, envelop them, know that they are held in the gospel of Love, the good news of God’s allness and the power of Love to guide each individual to make the best decisions in this case. And, again, we don’t outline what those best decisions are for those individuals. They’re going to make those alone with God through their own prayers, and even if they don’t pray, God’s still speaking to them and leading them. But your prayer, acknowledging that, does make a difference.

Rosalie: Dwight in Boston is sending a question that is a little bit different from our main topic, but it still seems applicable. He says: “I read a report stating that as the Internet and social media expand, our attention spans will decrease because we’ll only read a hundred and forty-one characters on Twitter instead of a whole paperback novel. This seems like it could really affect our global attention span and learning capabilities. How to we pray to protect our ability to learn and delve deeply into ideas despite what the world tells us?”

Sarah: Well, you’ve certainly hit on something that needs to be uncovered and seen for the lie that it is. I was telling Rosalie before we started this chat that I had read a survey long ago, a study that said that part of the increase in children’s deficit disorder was due to Sesame Street and their very quick segments. And as I recall, as a result of that study,Sesame Street even lengthened some segments so as not to have that effect on children and their attention spans. But I think that we need to pray to see that not only children but adults can find the ways that social media and technology are useful to them, and then find a way to turn it off, so that their life isn’t out of balance. And that, again, is just praying for wisdom, and acknowledging that each individual can resist the pull of social media—just to get into mindless games and things that a friend of mine calls a “time thief.” I love that phrase because we find ourselves, after playing three hours of solitaire on the Internet saying, “Oh my gosh, it’s dinner time. Where did the time go?” And that is what a “time thief” is, but we need to be able to challenge the thought that we have a material brain that is just made to work in certain functions by the material conditions that surround it. It, again, is just based on a totally material view of existence. When we uplift that to the impulsion of Soul, of God giving us right activities, right ideas, spontaneity, creativity, thoughtfulness, it’s not going to be able to control our attention so that we cannot focus when we need to be focused on projects and study—even Christian Science study, as someone mentioned earlier. If we get used to doing things in a hundred and forty characters, it’s very hard to sit down and read the Lesson each morning. But we need to challenge that we are governed by a material brain, and that human experience alone determines our ability to think correctly, to focus. And again, look up the words in the dictionary and see where they lead you in metaphysical terms in how to pray about something, like deficit meaning “lack of,” and disorder meaning “without law.” See where that leads you, because I find those are very helpful ways to focus prayer.

Rosalie: Now we have a mother in the Bahamas who sent us several questions. The one that seems the closest to our topic is: “My son seems to lack the ability to behave compassionately with others, to show empathy.” And then she goes on to say: “How do you teach social skills to a teenager? They have been modeled for him and explained all along but it seems to make no difference. What can I do?”

Sarah: Well I know it’s tough when you’ve been modeling and trying to show someone the right thing to do, and they seem to just lack the skill set—they just don’t seem to be there. But the idea from Christ Jesus that the kingdom of God is within us, the kingdom of heaven is within us, and that development is simply the drawing out of possibilities. It’s a much more helpful starting point to acknowledge that your relative has all of the skills that they need. They’re already included, and they’re going to be drawn out by our insistence that he is being taught of God. The Bible promises that we will be all taught of God [see John 6:45], and the word educate means “to draw out from within.” So I think that fits right in. Instead of trying to push something into this child and make him behave in a different way because you’ve put something in—it’s more removing an imposition on him from the outside, so that what’s in can come out, because it’s already there. Didn’t say it would be easy, but that’s the approach that will be the most useful I think.

Rosalie: Oh, that’s brilliant. Thank you so much. Then Marty in Maple Grove, Minnesota is probably going to be our last question: “How do we inspire the sense of good in our grandchild’s teachers and other non-Christian Scientists when interacting with our grandchild? How do we destroy the labels they have?”

Sarah: Well, that’s a great question. And, again, I think it comes down to defending the perfection of God’s creation—including the teachers. And insisting in your prayers that they can only see what’s true about this child. I think that when we accept that somebody else is labeling our child and they’re expecting bad behaviors, that we are reinforcing the idea that there are just some people who are separated from God. And if they’re separated from God, then you can be, and the child can be, and anybody else can be. It helps me to go back to that sense that, again, of this one idea that God is Mind. And if there is only one Mind, then the same Mind that’s telling you the good qualities in this child, will tell the child’s teachers as well. But, again, this is a heart in protest and a protest isn’t something we do quietly. Mrs. Eddy uses the phrase that we’re to “rise in rebellion” (Science and Health, p. 391), and rebellion meant “armed resistance.” And so I looked up the armor in the Bible and it talked about having on “the breastplate of righteousness”—I think it’s in Ephesians [see 6:11-17]—and “the helmet of salvation” and having a two-edged sword of truth, our “feet shod with the . . . gospel of peace”—I looked up all of those weapons. I thought, if I’m going to “rise in rebellion” in this heart in protest, then I need to be properly armed to do it. And putting on that spiritual armor enabled me to tackle the problem without thinking the problem belongs to that person. Once it belongs to that person, it has an identity, and we can’t get rid of it without getting rid of the person. But when we identify it as an impersonal lie about God and man, then it’s easier to destroy it, and easier to see each individual’s perfection.

Rosalie: Well, Sarah, this has been fabulous. I’m so grateful to you for being part of this conversation. It was just excellent.

Sarah: Well, I was delighted to have the opportunity to be with you.

Rosalie: Do you have any final comments before we close?

Sarah: Just to thank each of you who’s logged on today. If you asked a question, I hope you got some inspiration to get you started again in your prayers, or to reinforce where you already were and to take you forward. I appreciate so much the willingness of the listeners to participate in the healing that can come as we take these ideas and put them into practice. I appreciate and value every heart in protest against every label that’s placed on a child, whether it seems to be a good label or a bad label. We want to accept the only label that works, and that’s “child of God.”

Rosalie: Thank you so much. Today’s guest was Sarah Hyatt, a practitioner and teacher of Christian Science from Charleston, South Carolina. Our next chat will be on Tuesday, August 31 at 2 p.m. when Beverly Peake, a practitioner and teacher of Christian Science, will respond to questions on the subject, “Hurricanes and how to pray about them. Thanks so much for being with us today.

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