My toddler has given me an unexpected gift: the realization that I myself am a toddler.
If I imagine that the way I look at my toddler’s actions is the same way Heavenly Father looks at my actions, somehow it’s much easier to be at peace with my shortcomings and to love myself. Plus the comparisons are highly entertaining! Here are three examples.
Consumption of Floor Debris
When I see my son start to pick up a piece of lint, there’s always the question, “Should I wrestle it away or let it go so he’ll learn?” My son is at the age where everything he finds on the floor goes in his mouth. He is still learning what true food is. Similarly, everything I encounter in life gets “consumed” by my mind, and I have a long way to go to learn what is real food for my spirit and how to spit things out.
Before babies learn about “object permanence,” they think that if something leaves their view then it is gone completely. If you hide a toy under a blanket, young babies don’t realize the toy is still there. That’s why peek-a-boo is so entertaining. Just like a baby learning object permanence, I’m in the process of learning divine permanence. God and His angels are always there for me even when I can’t see them. I get such a thrill when I witness miracles or see evidence of God’s hand in my life because it’s like He’s playing peek-a-boo with me.
Turning Pages Too Quickly
My son can’t read, but he loves turning pages of books. Sometimes he doesn’t even give me a chance to read the page to him because he’s already turning to the next page, as though he thinks turning the page is the whole point. That’s probably how God feels in my life when I want to move on to the next step or the next answer, and God tries to tell me, “Hold on, you haven’t listened to what I want you to learn in your current page yet. Once you have learned lesson one, then we can move on to lesson two.”
I’m excited to discover more comparisons with each new stage in my son’s development. Please comment on other parallels you see between the life of toddlers and the life of “adults.”