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Faces on Faith: God’s green thumb

By REV. DR. JOHN H. DANNER - | Sep 1, 2020

Rev. Dr. John H. Danner

Being a parent is one of the most challenging jobs in the world. The stakes are so very high! Even more so in the midst of the pandemic! And, in some ways, due to cultural expectations, being a mother is especially hard.

My daughter-in-law Michelle does a very fine job of mothering her two daughters. She is teaching them all sorts of things, ranging from good manners to how to say grace at dinner. But as good a teacher as Michelle is, she is also a good student. And like most parents she has discovered that her own children are, at times, great teachers.

Her oldest daughter, Haley, is often wise beyond her years. And she has been for years. Back when she was only five she was a typical kid in many ways. What they call a girly girl. She was a big fan of Disney princesses, owned more Barbie dolls than you can imagine, and loved to play dress up. But she also did — and still does — a lot of thinking about the world around her, and sometimes said things that both amused and astounded us.

One time, for instance, she went up to her mother and asked, “Mommy, what’s a green thumb?”

“It doesn’t mean your thumb is the color green,” her mother said. “When you say somebody has a green thumb, you mean they’re really good with plants and gardens.”

Haley thought about that for a moment, and then said, “Well, Father God must have a green thumb.”

“Father God?” her mom asked.

“Well, duh, Mommy,” Haley said, putting her hands on her little hips. “He makes the trees all grow, doesn’t he?”

Even though she was five, Haley understood. Haley understood that this wonderful green world of ours is a gift. A gift from God, who expects us to treat it with respect. A gift God expects us to use wisely and well. At some level we all know and understand that, but we often need to be reminded. And sometimes, it is our children who do the reminding.

The Rev. Dr. John H. Danner is the senior pastor at Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ.