I did not think we'd deal with this at 3. Maybe in kindergarten and definitely in elementary but not at 3. Tonight, my sweet 3 year old wanted his hands to be different. If I remember right, he was trying to count something on his fingers and was frustrated because he could only count two. He pulled at his right hand, the one that is missing the actual hand, and said several times, "shoo, shoo, shoo!"
Oh that stings my heart a bit! It's that moment that pretty much every mom has to deal with at some point, when your child realizes that in some way, they are different than others when they really just want to be the same. I guess that's why I thought we had awhile before we heard such words, because 3 year olds are not very self aware and are not usually in tune with how they differ from those around them.
What do you say in those moments? The church answer of "that's just how God made you." seems pretty shallow. So does "I love your hands." because moms have to love their kids. I suppose there isn't any right answer. It's like a lot of other parenting stuff; it's a cumulative process, where our actions and words over time create patterns which slowly weave their way into our children's hearts.
So in this moment, we talked a bit after supper about what God says.
That God says He made us in our mommies' tummies.
That God says He saw every part of us while He was making us.
That God made us carefully and on purpose.
That the way we are is not an accident or a mistake.
And we also talked about our friend, Malia, who has "different" hands and feet as well. We looked back through pictures of her hands and feet and talked about if her hands were icky or if they were okay. Zeke perked up as he remembered that her hands were different like his and of course said her hands were okay not icky. He was also really concerned about her foot which still needs surgery and the photos from when she had her first surgery on her hands and foot, where she had a cast. He was very worried about her being hurt when they did the surgeries.
Two moments of tender heartedness from one little boy...one centered on his perceptions of self and one centered on his cares for a friend, both about the way God has made us. Praying God's truth for his heart tonight...
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.