At this very moment, my living room floor bears the unmistakable evidence of our son’s evening playtime. Surveying the items strewn across our area rug—an orange monster truck, a tiny train, a plastic blue airplane, a bright yellow bulldozer—it’s fairly clear a boy lives here. There’s just something in him that draws him to toys that honk, beep, and rev.
Still, as we think about how to raise our boy, my husband and I feel called not only to help develop his natural abilities and interests, but also to expand his perspective so he takes risks, tries new things, and can see the world from perspectives beyond his own.
So, next to his strategically “parked” vehicles is the book I read to him before bedtime: A Brave Big Sister. Here are three lessons we hope stories about brave women like Miriam will teach to our horn-tooting, monster-trucking boy:
- To enter into the story of someone different from himself
When any of us read stories about people who don’t look like us in places that aren’t familiar to us, we see more of the world and get a better understanding of what others experience. I can remember reading Sounder in sixth grade and having, for the first time that I recall, a visceral reaction to the cruelty and discrimination it described in the life of the unnamed young black protagonist. When I think about my son, I pray he’ll be a person who is in the habit of “walking a mile,” especially in the shoes of those to whom society grants less power and influence.
- To introduce examples of faith lived out not only with swords but also with song
Most of the stories I remember hearing from Sunday school involved men waging epic battles and dramatic showdowns: Cain and Abel, David and Goliath, Joshua and Jericho, Daniel and the lions. It wasn’t until I was older that I discovered the Lord is revealed just as powerfully in the prophetic poetry and songs of His people. On the day of Canaan’s defeat, Deborah’s hymn declares the victory and 40 years of peace the Lord is bringing to Israel, Mary’s song announces the upside-down kingdom that Christ will inaugurate, and when there’s an awkward silence after Pharaoh’s army is swallowed in the sea, it’s Miriam’s song of joy that gives voice to Israel’s response of worship to God. As Cedar explores the gifts and call the Lord has placed on his life, I pray that he’ll embrace the many diverse ways the Lord equips His people.
- To know and experience the Lord more fully
Speaking of songs, I love that the story of creation unfolds in poetry. I think especially of Genesis 1:27, which says, “So God created humankind in His image / In the image of God He created them / Male and female, He created them.” This verse makes it clear that the union of male and female is what most fully reveals God’s image. My prayer is that as Cedar comes to understand the perspectives, experiences, and gifts of women in his life, he’ll also more immediately recognize the Lord as author and thus experience Him through the testimony of others.
These are a lot of big prayers and dreams. For now, it’s enough to just keep enjoying moments when the toy truck comes to rest long enough to sit together, crack open a book, and read stories of the Bible’s strong, brave women.