Category Archives: Toddlers

Why, Why, Why

As a toddler teacher, I am no stranger to The Why Stage. It seems like they just started forming words at all and now all of my words have to have articulated reasons to support them.

Every child gets there. And every parent that comes in my classroom has experienced it—or will very soon.

“It’s time to go home, honey,” a mom will say when she picks her child up.

“Why?”

“Because it’s dinnertime.”

“Why?”

“Because we’re hungry.”

“Why?”

Because. Just because.

But toddlers are people, too, and their “Why?” questions point to a human reality that may be hidden deep but resides in each of us.

There are things we wonder about.

Mark 2

I know that headings aren’t inspired, but my Bible translation divides Mark 2 into four passages which are (paraphrased): Jesus heals a paralytic, Jesus calls a tax collector to be a disciple, people notice Jesus’ disciples didn’t fast, and people saw Jesus disciples’ pick grain on the Sabbath.

If we take each of these as separate stories, we can draw out applications and catalog the stories in our memories. We can make our little outline and determine what we’re supposed to think about it.

But they’re one story—just like the entire Bible itself. And if we read them together, we’ll see something: In each of these four passages, somebody asks “Why?”

And none of them are toddlers.

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Today Was Not My Day

My toddler class had a rough day. We had a child who stayed home sick, a teacher who stayed home sick with something else, and another child who threw up in the classroom. We had several fussy kids who were tired and teething and I’m not sure what else.

After everyone finally settled down for nap, one little guy who had already had a rough day woke up way too early. No matter what I tried, he was still fussy and uncomfortable, crying in a sad little voice unless we walked the halls together. Poor guy had to be held the rest of naptime, so my long “Things To Do While They Sleep” list is still…long.

Every Single Blessing

Paul wrote Ephesians while he was in prison, to a church who faced growing uncertainty and the challenges of living as Christians in first-century Roman territory. He opened Ephesians characteristically, with praise to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3). Wait. Every spiritual blessing.

Every?

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Not for the Fear of Stomach

We all have our fears. Our heart-stopping, breathtaking, bone-chilling phobias we would rather do anything than face. Some of us fear needles, heights, or dangerous, predatory animals. Some of us quake in fright at only the thought of spiders, snakes, or speaking in public. A few of us fear the absence of cell phone coverage.

For me, it’s the stomach bug.

When two kids from my toddler class lost their lunches within 24 hours of each other, it was a summons to battle. Armed with Clorox wipes, Lysol spray, and disposable gloves, my fellow teachers and I attacked any surface we thought might have at one time possibly been somewhat contaminated. And everything else.

We threw all the stuffed animals and baby doll blankets in the wash, and when somebody else got sick we washed them again. Three more kids came down with the virus. I washed my hands, washed kids’ hands, and washed my hands again. Then Clorox-wiped the door handles, because who knows who touched those since this morning.

But whatever works, right? Tease me all you want, but our class hasn’t had another case of the upsets in three days.

Until this afternoon.

We thought we were past it. Thought the rest of us had missed it. Then—nope.

When I got home I went on a walk, listing my frustrations with every step.

I have my whole weekend planned out—time with family and some friends from out of town. And what else could I have done, anyway? I did everything I could, and the germs still claimed another one.

What if my dreaded nemesis infects me, too, and all those plans bottom out?

Even as I fumed, I realized the whininess of my attitude. Good grief, Lauren, there are refugees living in tents right now and you’re worried about weekend plans. Some people have hardships you can’t even hold a candle to and you’re worried about something you can’t control.

But soon I realized…I can’t control it.

I can’t control who in my class gets the stomach bug or doesn’t. All my Lysol-spraying and Clorox-cleaning didn’t stop the germs from infecting yet another child in my class. They can’t guarantee anything.

Only the God who created our germ-fighting bodies has any say in—any control over—who stands and who succumbs to the stomach virus.

Why worry?

Will it add an hour to my life? Or a day to our healthy streak?

In Mark 4, the storm raging around Jesus and His disciples’ boat was so strong the fishermen feared for their lives (maybe thanatophobia—fear of dying, aquaphobia—fear of water, or even thalassophobia—fear of the sea). These men were staring their deepest horror in the face. Or so they thought. Jesus woke from his nap but didn’t grab a bucket to bail more water out, instead simply asking, “‘Why are you so afraid?’” (Mark 4:40).

“Why are you so afraid?”

Do you think they forgot Who was in the boat? Or maybe they just forgot what He could do?

With a word from Him, the storm stopped. Just like that. It had been under His control all along.

Why are you so afraid?

You know, some trust in Clorox wipes and some trust in Lysol. We know that we can’t control anything even with those weapons.

But we also know Who is in the boat.

No matter what fear we face.