Costumes were hung on the clothing rack at the department store. As I enter the store with my three-year-old granddaughter, she exclaims, "LOOK AT ALL THOSE DRESSES! I probably could get one!”-- “I could probably get one with wings!”
Because the word “No” in Nana’s vocabulary is non-existent, she chose a bright green princess butterfly dress with wings. My granddaughter says; "Nana, you'll have to hold my hand so I don't fall." I quickly realize what she meant. She was telling me to hold her hand so she did not fall while flying with her wings.
I smiled on the inside. Her innocence and pure delight brought joy to my soul. I went on to share with her, that the wingson the costumes were not real. These wings were pretend. It didn't take long for me to see the look of disappointment spread across her face. The first thought that went through my mind was: "Oh no! I just ruined her excitement by telling her the truth!" My second thought was: "Uh-oh" She does not fully comprehend the difference between what is real and what is pretend.
What age do we teach our children the difference between the truth of what is real and what is pretend?
I would recommend beginning as soon as your child’s verbal skills are developed.
The conversation with my granddaughter went something like this: “Birds & insects were created with wings, while people were created with arms and legs.” She was intrigued to hear the truth. I had her attention….
How do we impart truth to our children?
We can simply begin with being honest and truthful with our children from the beginning. Both the toddler and preschool years are the best time to impart truth. Did you know that children under the age of four years of age are unable to discern between what is truth and what is not? Everything in their world is perceived as truth. It is our responsibility as parents to create a safe environment to nurture and teach what truth is or is not, based on our core values. In our home truth and healthy communication is a value that we try to impart at a young age.
Once a truth has been revealed you can begin by asking your child a thought provoking question. For example: What do you think can fly with wings? “Butterflies” What are ways that people can fly? “In an airplane” Are superheroes real? “Hmm?” This question took us back to the original lesson of truth: Who can fly? Who are some real superheroes?“Grandpa, is a real superhero!” Why is that? “because he is in the army, he saves people's lives.” The next thing we know, we are on an adventure seeking even more truth. We found ourselves reading books and sharing about birds, butterflies, airplanes and superheroes.
As parents begin to release truth in the lives of their children, it will allow their child to walk in freedom to be who they were created to become.
Nancy has been married for 27 years, has four children, four grandchildren, and has been a foster parent for 12 years. She is a Pastor and the senior leader of The New Wine. The New Wine is an inner healing and discipleship ministry. Nancy has a passion to see people walking in emotional health and help them find their identity.