I love Patricia Polacco. If I had to pick a favorite picture book author, it would probably be her (although there would be about 10-20 others right behind her in line for that honor.) So I was excited to recently read her book of Mother Goose rhymes entitled Babushka's Mother Goose. I must admit that for just a moment I was disappointed that so few of them were rhymes I knew. But then I started reading these rhymes that she and her babushka (grandmother) created...many based on other nursery rhymes, including those from Russia. There are fun ones...like Yasha... "Yasha had a beard/that grew and grew and grew!/It reached down to the ground,/it grew and grew and grew!/Up over fences, through a barn,/and even past a hound,/It grew up goats, it grew down slopes,/it grew without a sound...." (it continues on...and the illustration is hilarious!) But if I had to choose one absolute favorite, it would be:
The Golden Child
There is an ancient legend-
it's very old indeed-
about a child, a golden child,
who loves when there is need.
Enchanted child, with eyes so dear,
walks with God each day.
"Treat this one as you would me,'
the Lord came here to say.
But no one knows the golden child-
it looks like any other-
so every child it may be,
a sister or a brother.
I love the message in this rhyme. Every child it may be...a sister or a brother. We should treat everyone we meet as if they are the golden child who walks with God each day. We should be kind and patient and forgiving when a child does wrong. We should "Treat this one as you would me"... " "But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 19:14)
Children can teach us so much. Twice in the past two weeks during class discussions, children in my class have mentioned God. Once we were reading a book and we stopped to talk about honesty. I said something like, "Even if no one catches you being dishonest, you know that you were. You have to live with yourself and know that you did something dishonest and that doesn't feel good." One student said, "Yeah and God knows." Many students nodded their heads in agreement. I can't remember the circumstances of the other time, but it was probably something similar. (Because it is a public school classroom, I try to handle this carefully...neither really encouraging these remarks nor discouraging them entirely, but pointing out that people have many different beliefs about God and that they should talk to their families about their own beliefs.)
I love this quote by C.S. Lewis. It has long been a favorite:
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which,if you say it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilites, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - These are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” From the Weight of Glory
If we could always remember that every child, every person, we interact with is a "Golden Child" and that each person we meet is a child of God, then this world would be a much nicer place.
My Golden Children :)