For the past two afternoons I have begun reading a chapter a day of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe to my kids. So obviously we are not too far into it. Yesterday I had my daughter next to me helping me hold the book and my son on my lap sitting very still, which for him and most any five-year-old boy is a minor miracle. We got to the part where Mr. Tumnus begins describing the terrible things the White Witch will do to him if he fails to deliver Lucy into her hands.
“…she’ll have my tail cut off, and my horns sawn off, and my beard plucked out…”
Next thing I knew my son had jumped off my lap and was hiding around the back of the loveseat. He didn’t want to hear any more and he was not interested in waiting around to see if Lucy made it back safely to War Drobe.
As adults we forget the power of words. Somewhere along the way we’ve written so many, heard so many, read so many, that we are simply immune to the power that they truly do possess. As my son flew off my lap I was reminded of just what it is like to be present in a book for the first time.
My son loves books about dinosaurs. He loves stories about what they eat and how they fight. So there’s something that happens with fiction, with fantasy. It engages us on a whole other level and draws us in with the author to the world they are writing about. Stories help us understand The Story that is happening around us.
Jesus told His followers (John 104,5), “When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
Part of parenting is helping our children recognize the voice of Jesus in their lives as we’ve heard it in our own. My son’s reaction to Mr. Tumnus’ description of impending suffering was not a strange one, it was him actively saying, “I don’t like this! I don’t like people that cause others to experience pain.” We adults know that life is not without pain and suffering in our fallen world, but I believe we are closer to the voice of Jesus when the desire to be in a world without pain, without suffering fills our hearts and defines our actions.