Last Sunday, Gabriel wanted to take my giant study Bible with him to church, and was upset that I wouldn't let him. So I pulled out one of our extra generic Bibles to give to him. I was going to get him something like that for Christmas, but since it was so important to him, I decided to let him have one now. He reads it by himself every day. We haven't told him to do this; he figured it out on his own. He underlines passages and puts notes in the margins, just like he sees us doing in our Bibles. I showed him a few parts he might be interested in, or that would be easier reading (he was reading in Kings or Chronicles or Numbers or some difficult section), but otherwise he has been taking this project up on his own.
Today we brought one of his friends home with us from school until his mom could get here, since she was running late. They walked behind me a few steps, and I could hear their conversation. Gabriel was telling J that he was incorrect about a Bible verse J had told him about a week or two ago. Gabriel told him how it was really supposed to go. I think the subtleties were lost on J, but then they were moving on to compare the sizes and coolness of their Bibles they each had. These kids go to a public school, so I think it's neat that they talk about their spiritual life with each other on their own, as un-selfconscious as if they were talking about toys or tv shows.
Then, this evening, Gabriel finished his homework and got some paper out. I thought he was drawing or simply procrastinating about going to bed, but he was working on writing a "scroll" for himself. It said something like "Rule 1: Obey God." and "The Golden Rule: Treat others how you would like to be treated." I am paraphrasing here, since he's got the scroll in bed with him tonight. He rolled it up and put paper clips on the edges to keep it in a cylinder shape.
How did my son get to be so spiritual? We don't even do all the things we "should" be doing to train him in the way we would like him to go. He asks tons of questions, though, and we've had so many deep discussions about all kinds of topics, ever since he could put sentences together. How does he effortlessly weave his spiritual thoughts and conversations into his life, friendships, and artwork? I am humbled and a little afraid of the responsibility we have as parents to shepherd this little guy to adulthood, with the best foundation for his life. It seems a lot simpler to teach basic manners than spiritual depth, and it is easy to let the God-focus slip for weeks at a time in the busyness of daily life. I hope and pray that Gabriel will keep his thirst for knowledge, and not grow too cynical as he ages. And I wonder, as I have since he was conceived, what he is going to be like when he grows up.....