Loving Like a Child
I remember reading an article before Mason was even born that talked about some typical differences in the way toddler boys and girls love their parents. I’m not going to go into any of the details of the article, other than the fact that it described a boy’s love to be more ‘honest’ in a sense. Basically, the article was saying that if a boy expresses love in some way, whether it be simply saying ‘I love you’, or picking a flower for his mother, that it is simply to express love and not for any other underlying reason.
This past year, we have started to experience what this article talked about with Mason. There have been many times that Mason will be outside and decides without any hint or idea from me that he wants to pick a flower for ‘Mommy’. He goes the whole nine yards too. He will excitedly walk in with the flower behind his back and find Melanie saying ‘I have a surprise for you…” and then will pull the flower out. I haven’t had to pull a single weed either, they are flowers to in Mason’s eyes. Mason will also randomly walk up to his mother (most times) and give a big hug and a kiss to whatever is in reach to him. It’s often a leg if you’re standing, or a proper hug if you’re sitting or at his eye level. Either way, it’s always followed by the same three words:
I love you.
On a typical Sunday morning, I would be the first to wake up and get ready for church since I have to be there earlier to set up and practice when I’m on to play on the worship team. However, this morning was a little different. Melanie’s mother was staying with us at our place and was already up sitting in the living room. I got up and went into the bathroom to put my contacts in and all of a sudden, I hear Mason march out of the bedroom and head into the living room. I’m not entirely sure if he walked out with his little bible in his hand or if he found it once he got to the living room, but he had it when he sat down, because he started talking to his grandmother about the book that was in his hands.
I only heard parts of the conversation from the bathroom, but I did hear one part of the conversation in particular:
“Is that book about God, Mason?”
“You can’t say God at home, only in church.”
(Mason was remembering a past conversation a long time ago when we told him that he shouldn’t say things like ‘Oh my God’ unless you’re in church.)
“Did you know that God is everywhere?
“God is at church. You can’t see Him.”
Then he said three little words all on his own:
“I love God.”
I couldn’t help but smile in that moment. I was proud. It was humbling to hear Mason express his love to God, despite not being able to physically see or touch Him, yet be so sure that He exists in his life.
In all of the doubts that cross my mind sometimes where I question if I’m doing the best as a father for Mason, those three words provided confirmation that maybe we aren’t doing too bad so far. It also reminded me of this important verse:
“2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:2-4 (ESV)
Jesus reminds us that we need to love Him and others as a child loves: Honest, sincere, unconditional. A love that doesn’t just say, it also does.
“I love you, Mason. And I have a surprise for you…”