I was up early one Thursday before God had turned on the lights. I had procrastinated a little in my message preparation and believe, like the old country preacher, that procrastination is one of the main doctrines of the church. Some tasks have to be put off many times before they slip your mind completely. By Thursday, the Noon Business Lunch had completely slipped my mind. I woke up realizing that I had to speak. I had told the pastor of my church I would speak. I was supposed to speak about God for thirty minutes.
I had just started to study when I heard the sound of little feet. My youngest, Breanne, who was four at the time, walked into the room. Have you ever noticed that kids are backwards when it's time for them to get up? When you want them up, they are as responsive as church members at offering time. And when you don't want them to get up, they are like church members at benediction. I couldn't believe Breanne was up. She came and sat right on my study materials.
The first step in child rearing is to master the hand-off. Hand-off to your wife as soon as possible. She gave birth to her; surely she will know what to do with her. I suggested to Breanne that she go get in bed with Mom. "No" was her answer. "No" is usually the answer from a four-year-old because that is the word they have heard five zillion times. She had probably never heard the word "yes." Adults are good at saying no, but bad at responding to no. I said, "No? What do you mean, no? It is the middle of the night and everyone is supposed to be in bed." She asked, "Why aren't you in bed?" Kids spot the obvious quickly.
Like the kid who went to tour the FBI headquarters and was shown the pictures of the Ten Most Wanted. He asked, "Why didn't you keep them when you took their picture?"
I told Breanne that I had to get up early and study so that I could speak at noon. It is amazing. Even four-year-olds are good at pointing out other's sins. She said, "Mother always tells Angela and Kasey they have to do their homework before they go to bed. You are probably going to be in big trouble."
She was still sitting on the notes offering to help me study. I told her she couldn't read yet. She said, "I know some jokes." She'd heard me speak before. She asked me what John the Baptist and Kermit the Frog had in common. I told her I didn't know. She said they have the same middle name. I smiled. She knew I was loosening up to the idea of her helping me. She had seen me work a crowd and now she was working me.
Then she said, "I have a great idea. Mom said you would watch Winnie the Pooh with me." "Did she say I would watch it at four in the morning?" "She said you would watch it with me when you had time and it looks like we both have time and no one will bother us." It appeared that it was time to get spiritual. It was time to pull God out and get out of this. I said, "Daddy has a lunch meeting where I tell people about God and if I don't study I won't have anything to tell them. So you go to bed and I'll study so people can hear about God." She said, "I have a better idea. You watch Winnie the Pooh with me and see that he is a lot like God. He listens to the children and spends time with them. He teaches them how to do right. So you watch the video with me and I'll let you take it with you and you can show the people the tape and tell them that's how Jesus wants them to act." She was a little ahead of her time — videos and sermons — and I wish I could tell you that I had enough fortitude to play Winnie the Pooh to the business lunch but I did tell them about Pooh and what I learned.
That night, when Breanne said her prayers, she thanked God for Winnie the Pooh and, "Oh yeah, my dad." That night I felt I was in pretty good company. I also learned that if you can't relate God to the world people live in, you might not be communicating at all.
Charles Lowery is pastor of Hoffmantown Church, Albuquerque, N.M.