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To understand the mind of a 4 year old

September 1, 2011

Several weeks ago I baptized a 4 year old boy in the backyard of his grandparents’ home. I had never met the boy, but I had met the rest of the family previously when I performed the wedding ceremony of his aunt. The cute little boy’s mother was very excited for him to meet me and was trying to get him excited about the baptism. When his mother introduced me as the minister who was going to baptize him, the little boy ran and started crying! He was in a panic! I could tell he was sooo scared. This was not shyness about meeting me. He was terrified! I usually don’t have that effect on kids!! I had no idea why. His reaction was above and beyond how I thought a 4 year old would react. The poor little guy didn’t even want to look my way. I couldn’t figure out why he would run from me and be so scared. I tried to reassure him by telling him all I was going to do was say some words and put a little water on his head. It wasn’t going to hurt at all. I let him touch the water and pretty much showed him what I was going to do. Really? He looked at me with such relief. He calmed down tremendously and talked to me. He then breezed through the baptism and was a great little guy.
After I had performed the baptism service the little boy’s mother came up to me and told me that she didn’t think she did a good job of explaining baptism. She had told her son that baptism was all about going to heaven when you die. She said that if he was baptized, that everyone in their family would meet Jesus. They would all be together in heaven. She forgot to say to her 4 year old son that baptism did not mean you were going to die today and go to heaven today! She said her son thought I was there to kill him to take him to heaven!!!! Well, that sure explained his reaction to meeting me! I laughed like crazy when I heard that! It taught me how the mind of a 4 year old thinks! Out of the mouths of babes… Yes, baptism is about going to heaven…but (hopefully) not until your child is really, really old and has lived a long, love-filled and happy life.

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