Doing a New Thing
Andy and I are reading through some of our favorite children’s novels with our kids, this year. We are reading Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, and Madeleine L’Engle. But we have both noticed a phenomenon, a gap, between what we remember reading as children and what is actually happening on the page. We find ourselves editing things as we read aloud and skipping through paragraphs and explaining things, much more than we anticipated. The magic is different than we remember. Each book is just slightly off from our glowing childhood memories.
Sometimes the kids love a book, and we feel exhilarated that we have shared a piece of our history and culture with them. And sometimes they fall asleep in the middle of the chapter and wake up in the morning saying, “That book was weird, Dad.”
Our children are young. But this is the beginning of what will be a lifelong gap between our experiences and perspectives. We have a few choices — We can cling to the memories of the past and the traditions of our youth; We can insist that our cherished childhood highlights are superior to theirs; We can snub new books, new ideas, and new methods.
But what if we took the opportunity to discover the world again with our kids? To use this gap to keep growing?
Isaiah prophesies in chapter 43, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Is human progress just a series of big events? Does God make these things happen and then sit back and watch us react? Within our families and the generation gap that exists in our homes, we can witness the progress and the movement of the Spirit just by interacting with our children. What will they teach us? What books will they bring into our lives? What truth will spring from their hearts?
Maybe my memory of the The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis is cloudy. It certainly isn’t as good as I remember. But that’s okay — there’s more magic out there to be discovered!