Today I carried my son into a deserted Sunday School classroom at our church to change his diaper. I laid him on the floor and hunched over my bag to find the necessary supplies. He started playing with the border of a bulletin board just above him.
It was a pretty border, rainbows and flowers and animals and Noah's ark patterned along its length. In between each picture, in different fonts and colors, were the words "God is Love."
My son is getting to the stage where he can recognize letters, though he's still far from reading. He pointed to one of the phrases. "What's that say, Mommy?"
"God is love."
He kicked and squirmed some more. Then he pointed to another phrase further along the border. "What's that one say?"
"That one also says God is Love." I wondered how many more times I would have to answer the same question before I could finish getting him wiped and his pants back on.
He wiggled around some more (my son never ever stops moving unless he's in a sound sleep, or sick). Then he pointed to one of the flowers. "What's that say, Mommy?"
I glanced at the flower and gave the easy answer. It was, after all, time to return to the service. "It doesn't say anything."
As I dropped off my son in Sunday School and returned to the church service, I felt a little guilty. Would it have been so very hard for me to seize a teachable moment? To explain that flowers say a lot of things about their Creator? That each petal and pistil and stamen and stem sing a gorgeous song of praise to the greatest Artist? That all of life, even plant and animal life, was carefully constructed and planned to the Nth detail by the greatest Master of Design... ever?
Granted, my son probably was simply looking for the easy answer I gave him. But I could have given a bit more... and it might have made a drop of difference in the long run. I have lots of plans for 'teachable moments' with him in the future. But this one is one that will never come around again. I guess I'm a little sorry about how I used it.