I knew he was familiar with the Easter story, but I had never heard our seven-year-old try to re-tell it on his own. We only read the full account of Jesus’ death and resurrection once a year; I expected him to get a couple details wrong.
Pride welled when he began. Then perfectionism kicked in and disappointment welled when he continued. Not disappointment in my boy—in me and my parenting skills.
We use a visual aid called Resurrection Eggs and the carton contains a dozen plastic eggs, each one containing an object to help convey the meaning of Easter. For example, in the orange egg you’ll find praying hands, and the corresponding devotional reminds us Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray with His disciples.
Our oldest began showing his little brother (age 3) the eggs and I stayed out of sight, listening and scribbling their conversation. Don’t judge—moms are allowed to be creepers if it’s for a good cause.
He popped open the first egg.
“Do you know what this is? It stars with a D, and ends with an S. It’s dice. So what they did was they bargained for his clothes, and whoever got the most points won. Are you listening?
“Then, after they whipped him, they broke all their legs. They went around with a spear, poked it into their legs… CRACK! And then they went to Jesus, but He was already dead. But they had to prove it, so they put a spear into his leg and blood came out.
“So after God came back to life on the cross, they moved Him into a tomb and put a big stone over it. And then….”
“Yeah…?” the little one asked, eyes widening.
“They rolled it away. Then Jesus came out and He flew up to heaven. Whoosh… BINK! Then the people came out to worship Jesus, but He wasn’t there.”
He opened an empty egg. “Now, I need to explain something to you. Why isn’t there anything in here?”
Our three-year-old looked confused. “I don’t know.”
“Because… Jesus went up to Heaven with his dad, and they came up with a plan for Jesus to come back, but he hasn’t yet. So that’s the whole entire story! Did you like that story, buddy?”
“The story I just told you.”
“Yeah, I liked it.”
With the wisdom and satisfaction of seven years under his belt, our oldest looked at me and grinned. “He’s cute.”
Agh! Easter fail! As soon as I finished laughing I felt like a loser. Where did I go wrong? I never told him they broke all their legs or that Jesus flew up to heaven! And God came back to life on the cross? My boy had been on this earth for seven years; hadn’t he been paying attention each Easter?
Give yourself a break, young mom. Ditch the guilt, older mom. Are you modeling things of Christ in your home? It’s okay if your kids don’t have all the facts of all the bible stories by the time you think they should. Seven years later and my boys still can’t retell every story in the bible. And neither can I! But we know they’re listening. Little by little truth sinks in.
When I finished beating myself up about what they couldn’t regurgitate, I decided to move their character to the top of my list. That doesn’t mean I don’t want them to know as many bible stories as possible. It means I would rather have children who are responsible, honest, respect authority, and show compassion over kids who don’t do any of that but can rattle off 73 bible stories with hand motions.
Fret not—I went to Awana when I was a kid and am all for memorization. I’m not throwing the Easter dice and hoping they’ll grow up to know a thing or two from the bible. But even as my husband and I gear up to fill in a few gaps this year, I know they probably won’t be doing cartwheels about hearing the same story yet again.
I simply remind myself to be thankful for the moments our boys show interest in the things of Christ… even if their stories hit a tad wide of the mark.
If you think I’m about to tie this up with a perfect Easter bow and report how I now have little men who would be happy to give up chocolate eggs for more church, relax. Just because we live in another country and get a missionary discount at the dentist doesn’t mean we’re holy and organized.
Thursday had us packing to leave for the weekend, (Easter in English!) but so far the suitcases were void of any pastels. So we went through their closets and next-size hand-me-downs to see if we actually owned anything worthy of Easter fashion. I had high hopes for at least one child, but truly had no memory of what lived in the blue bins.
Navy shorts, black vest, ripped jeans, beige polo, basketball shorts, red tank….
“Don’t you have anything in spring colors?” I asked our youngest.
“What are spring colors?”
Duuude… you’ve been here for almost ten years. Haven’t you been paying attention every Easter?
I moved to the teen who had a pile of random clothes on his bed. “What are you wearing to church on Easter?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t think about church.”
“Well please find something in spring colors.”
“Why do we have to wear spring colors? Does it matter?”
I shot him the look, calmly exited and began digging through another bin. Pride welled when we struck gold. A yellow shirt! I’m so prepared I didn’t even know it!
And that’s where it ended.
So we’ll be the white Mexicans in the SoCal church on Sunday who look like they just stepped out of a donation bin. Because we did. And we’re okay with that because the focus should be on Jesus—not if we have pink argyle socks, yellow bow ties and complementing mint gum.
And if you hear any pre-adults talking about Jesus hatching this year, give their mom a break.
He is risen!
He is risen indeed.
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation!”
~1 Peter 1:3 (NLT)