Many children love to play dress up. Even wearing the uniforms of their favorite sports team is a form of dress up – a chance to pretend to be someone else. The same friend that gave us the swords (see “Sharp Swords” 7-8-14) also gave us this Captain America suit. Our grandson just turned 6 and he is enjoying “vanquishing” all evil.
He is very serious about being prepared. He wants the suit on and zipped all the way up. He wants the face mask attached so it will stay on as he “battles”, and he wants the sword and shield ready and in the right position. He knows the correct look of the character and is intentional in re-creating that look.
His younger brother, who is three, also likes to dress up. He doesn’t seem to care how things fit or what position they are in. He will use various parts of various costumes and isn’t concerned about being authentic. He is very imaginative and pretends to make up for any equipment he doesn’t actually have. We went on a hike to the water front of the Chesapeake Bay recently and I counted 5 different sticks he picked up that he called “guns”. They were all different kinds of guns – and he named their types.
Already, when children are very young, we can see the various ways they approach life. Their play often reflects their view of the world around them, even their imaginary play. If you have more than one child, it is obvious that children raised in the same environment develop differing approaches to life.
Conflict is a real part of our lives as humans. How can we help our children learn to use conflict in positive ways – even as they play?
The news recently is filled with stories of conflict throughout the world. It grieves me as I hear the reports of innocent people suffering and dying. We don’t want our children’s play to reflect violence as the solution to problems. We can see clearly by what is happening in our world that violence incites violence in return.
Paul encourages us as Christians to be ready and equipped to face the conflict around us in our everyday lives. Ephesians 6: 13-17 (Amplified) uses this analogy –
13 Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].
14 Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God,
15 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.
16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].
17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.
Here Paul encourages us to be prepared as soldiers. This was easily understood by early Christians since their land was occupied by Rome and there were Roman soldiers everywhere. Verse 15 says “having feet shod in preparation with the gospel of PEACE!”
What a paradox! They were living in a land occupied by Roman forces, yet they were to share the good news of PEACE.
Jesus preached to his followers that we are blessed when we are the “makers AND maintainers of peace. If we do this we will be called children of God! In Matthew 5:9 (Amplified) Jesus says –
Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!
Finally, Paul defines peace for us in Phillippians 4:7 (Amplified)
And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Whatever the conflict – I can be at peace because I am assured of salvation AND I am content – whatever my earthly lot.
I need to set an example for my children and grandchildren by living at peace myself. I must live in such a way that they see my peaceful faith on display – not discontent or conflict.