Finding God at the Zoo

Finding God at the Zoo - Parenting Like HannahI have a confession to make. My family is addicted to zoos and aquariums. We enjoy seeking out new ones when we travel. We have ridden a camel, fed a giraffe and touched sharks, sting rays, sea squirts and numerous other slimy and furry “critters”.

We live in Atlanta, home of the fantastic Georgia Aquarium. My daughter and I love to go there and just soak in the wonder of their largest tank. It houses several whale sharks (they grow to be the size of a bus) and thousands of other fish, rays and sharks. They have a classical music piece playing in the background that was especially composed for the exhibit. I always feel so close to God in that room. As my daughter and I sat there a few weeks ago, I realized she has probably heard the same dialogue from me a thousand times.

Zoos and aquariums are excellent places to start recording those tapes that will play in your child’s mind forever (you know the ones of your mother’s voice!). When she comments on how amazing something is, it is so natural to say, “You are right. I never have understood how people can look at something like this and ever question that God exists.” A funny display by an animal is perfect for “God must really love us to create funny animals so we can laugh.”

The important thing is to try and make such statements a natural part of your every day conversation. The comments should be natural and in your words with your personal feelings about your awe for God and his creation. You will soon realize you are commenting on God when watching a beautiful sunset, walking by the ocean or holding a beautiful baby.

Creation really does cry out that God not only exists, but that He created everything and loves us dearly. This is one of the most important lessons you can teach your child. So have fun at the zoo and let your child learn all about God’s greatness and His love for us.

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)