|Tell Me About Him, please!|
Cheek to carpet, I faced my smiling grandson, arms waving excitedly, legs slicing air with rhythmic kicks. Enthralled by a fabric block swinging overhead, he filled his lungs in preparation for utterance. Over and over he repeated this routine, delighting in his newfound voice and ability to express sounds. For days he heard, “Yeah, Apple Jax!! You’ve learned a new trick.” And seeing the corresponding smile on his Mom’s face, the face of God to him at this age, he “talked” on, discovering himself and the power to respond to and influence others. Encouraged, he spoke out his heart in new consonants, rather than cries of need. Like Jaxon, we all hunger for an approving parental gaze, for acknowledgement, encouragement, and for someone to narrate life so that we might comprehend God’s Story and respond appropriately.
|Jax and Mommy the Narrator|
Charlcie enjoys videoing Jax’s milestones, both those reached intentionally and accidentally. In these videos you hear her, a faceless voice a few octaves higher than normal, narrating, telling the story as it unfolds to her baby son. Dad puzzles over her narration, yet cannot deny the power of this teaching method for his son undeniably is learning to dialogue, to interact, before his eyes through these high pitched conversations reinforced by exaggerated facial expressions. Little Jax is mirroring, parroting, mastering the art of storytelling himself as he tunes in to his life narrator. (Check out my facebook page for most recent videos: http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1166704144
I read a little about the role of a narrator this afternoon because this concept of a mother narrating life for her son fascinated me. I learned that while every story has an Author, the Author may not always be the narrator. The narrator helps the audience to comprehend the story the Author has written. In fact, the act or process of telling the particulars of a story is referred to as narration. The narrator paints a picture of the story being told expanding the imagination of the hearer. "The role of the narrator influences the type of relationship we have not only with him or her but also with the story (Landy 75)." http://www.essays.cc/free_essays/c2/xaj198.shtml
Oh the power that lies in narration. What a mother says, the tone she chooses, the face she wears, and the life she lives while telling the story influence her child’s relationship not only to her, but to THE STORY. I’m speaking of the power of testimony. Bill Johnson defines testimony as … “the written or spoken record of anything God has done in history.” He then goes on to say, “The testimonies of God are an invaluable inheritance because in each story of what God has done, there is a revelation of His nature. But giving us a better theology is not the primary purpose of that revelation. A revelation of God through a testimony is always an invitation to know God experientially in that revelation.” Taken from: Release the Power of Jesus, by Bill Johnson, pg. 35 and 36.
As a Mom forms in her child pleasurable associations with the narration or telling of anything God has done in history, whether yesterday or thousands of years ago, she invites her child into an experience of God as revealed in her testimony. Sharing truth then facilitates the forming of a relationship, not the establishment of religion. I’ve really been thinking about this in terms of how to pass on the joy found only in relationship with God as a parent/grandparent. How does one begin in infancy to foster joy in relationships, and in association with the pursuit of truth and more importantly THE TRUTH HIMSELF, the Author of the story we live in as beloved characters, not puppets without purpose.
|Visits with Aslan|
By pleasurable associations, I’m not speaking of serving up Bible stories on a plate piled high with M&M’s. Rather, that TRUTH itself is palatable to a child when delivered thoughtfully and in love, so that the child can relate to it (or should I say, to the One behind it). For example, my daughter has a little stuffed lion that for some strange reason strongly appeals to Jax, her 3 month old baby boy. In fact, he appears to have conversations with this smiling critter whenever Mom brings him into view on the play mat. I’ve thought more than once that God is providing opportunities to put words into the lion’s mouth – narration opportunities to introduce the Lion of Judah, Aslan, and the Kingdom He rules. Keeping it simple, playful, much like C.S. Lewis who masterfully paints for children a picture of God they can relate to. I’m suggesting that we take any toy or interactive experience and ask the Holy Spirit for revelation into the life-giving narration of HIStory in the moment. Afterall, it is Him we are introducing our child/grandchild to -- the One who will continue narrating life long after we are gone!!
If we really believe TRUTH is fun, and indeed it is, for TRUTH sets us free to be all we were made to be, then why not experiment with creatively attesting to the deeds of (and thus nature of) God consistently – through Spirit-inspired interactive play?! Tune in for future ideas on incorporating testimony into playtime, for lessons in narrating HIStory for the blessing of the hearer, no matter his age.
Sharing testimony in His Shadow,Terry (and my daughter, Charlcie)
For more inspirational reading visit Spiritual Sundays at www.bloggerspirit.blogspot.com