Friday, January 20, 2012

Mother Goose Meets Jesus

Has anyone else noticed that Mother Goose nursery rhymes are sometimes violent, usually meaningless, and often make light of negative behavior in children?

I was always very fond of Mother Goose. My mom and grandma sang many nursery rhymes to me as a child. They stick with you and some are very lovely. I was so excited to share nursery rhymes with my son that I bought him the most beautiful book I could find for his first birthday!

But, since becoming a mom... a mom of a child who asks questions... I've noticed some not-so-lovely stuff as we read and sing.

Now, I know some people purposely choose to expose their kids to the junk and negativity of life early so they are not shell-shocked and horrified when they discover there really are Mother Hubbards who are so poor their dogs go starving and no one helps. I used to be of this persuasion until someone pointed out to me Matthew 10:16, where Jesus says:

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."

This is a charge to be in the world, but not of the world. To be as wise as a slithery, cunning snake so we aren't ignorant of what's going on in a fallen world. But also to be innocent as doves, guarding our minds as much as possible from evil thoughts and intentions. We can only do this by regularly programming our minds with God's pure Word, and speaking words founded on the truth of God's Word... including speaking it to our children. Especially to children, because their brains are still developing and they need a good, innocent foundation upon which to stand as they face a messed up world around them.

So, that's where I'm coming from. We want what goes into our son's little brain to be as innocent as possible. Are we sheltering our kid? Of course. As much as we are able. That's our job right now.

This Christmas we received a wonderful book called The Christian Mother Goose Big Book by Marjorie Ainsborough Decker. Two hundred ninety-one pages of beautiful, God-honoring poetry and super-cute illustrations.

Why I love this book:

Twinkle, Twinkle becomes a wondrous realization of how big God must be to have made all the stars.

Instead of getting their tails chopped off by the farmer's wife, Three Kind Mice are busy doing good deeds for their friends.  

Humpty Dumpty rejoices that even when he falls, God can put him together again.

Instead of whipping them soundly, The Old Woman in the Shoe kisses her children gently before bed.  

Jack and Jill meet a man at the well who tells them about finding the living water and never thirsting again.  

The Itsy Bitsy Spider is encouraged by Miss Muffet not to doubt, but to keep climbing.

And for crying out loud, the baby peacefully rocking in the cradle does not fall out of a tree when the wind blows, because God is taking good care of him.

Ahhh... nursery rhymes are fun again! :)


Becky Bartlett said...

I've noticed that same thing!! Luke's parents have an old nursery rhyme book that they pulled out once and it was awful!! Boaz learning something about throwing someone down the stairs! :) This other version sounds great!

pam said...

laI loved to read this book to my kids. I was repelled by many of the original nursery rhymes. They were full of really scary things, from my point of view.

You're a great Mom, Katie!