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Ann Blyth Answers Her Son’s Question

When my three-year-old Timmy asked that for the first time—I answered, as simply as I could, “God is love. God is everywhere.” And I knew the time had come to begin my son’s religious training. We do not take Timmy to church with us on Sunday mornings. There are times when you just can’t ask a three-year-old to sit still. And I know if you try to force them to do something during that impressionable age, it will become something that’s rebelled against in later years.

Instead, we take the children to church on afternoons, when there are no services and we can explain to them about God and His wonderful ways. We tell them the stories of Jesus and His Blessed Mother, of Joseph and the Saints. Timmy talks to the different statues. They are his friends now. He thanks God for his meals and before bedtime we join in the Prayers—Our Father, Hail Mary and Gentle Jesus. A new prayer is read to him every week. So much is learned from what children see or hear at an early age—both Jim and I feel that a large part of teaching our children to have faith must come from us, from our children’s following in our footsteps.

Mommy, do you love Maureen more than me?”

Only once has Timmy asked that. He wanted a toy that belonged to his sister, and was upset when we wouldn’t give it to him. We explained we wouldn’t take anything from him when Maureen wanted it. But I must admit, we found that the best way of solving the problem was to give each child the same thing! Timmy is now at the age where he can accept the fact that one thing is his and another is his sister’s, without feeling the baby is being given more love or attention than he.

Mommy, must you work? When will you come home?”

Timmy knows I work—but not what my work is. I’ve never taken him to a movie, and we strictly limit the time spent watching TV. And should one of my oldies be scheduled, Jim and I make sure the dial is turned to another channel. He is still too young to associate his mommy with the shadows on the screen—as he does his daddy with the bright colored bandages he gets after a ‘shot’ or a cut on his finger.

On days when I have a late call, I breakfast and play with the children before leaving for the studio. When Timmy asks, “Mommy, must you work? Please don’t go today,” I assure him I’ll be gone for just a little while. “I understand,” he says.

Hurry back.” I always make sure to get home before Timmy and Maureen’s bedtime. When I come through. the door, their first words are, “Hello, Mommy!” Then they run up to me and give big hugs. And I must admit. no matter how tired I am, just one look and one hug from the little ones and I’m not tired any more!

Mommy, can I make pictures like in the pretty book?”

I am convinced we have a young Van Gogh in the family! Last week, armed with a new crayon set, our son tried to copy everything in his picture book. Unfortunately, he used the walls to draw on, even though we told him to use only the drawing pad. Jim and I believe in discipline by correction. Timmy is able to understand that if he does something wrong, he will be corrected. We ‘punish’ him by taking away one of his favorite toys for a while or sending him to his room. We took the crayons from him. Later I went to him and asked if he’d be a good boy and obey me. “Yes,” he promised—and the incident was forgotten. A few days later so were the crayons. He’s now going through his sculpturing stage. Yesterday he proudly showed me a rose he made from his clay—a new kind of clay which leaves no marks, not even on walls!

Mommy, how does daddy make the light go boom?”

Everything is a new discovery for Timmy. He delights in getting into Daddy’s photographic equipment—taking a tripod apart, or unscrewing the flash-bulbs. The bulbs particularly confuse and fascinate him—because try as he may, he cant get them to light up. “They look so pretty when they go boom for daddy. Can I make them go boom, too?”

Mommy, who made the ducks, squirrels and birds?”

The most important thing Timmy has discovered is the world of animals. He has always loved the wooden ducks we have hanging from the ceiling of his room—and when we take him down to Toluca Lake to see the real thing, he goes out of his mind with joy. Timmy and the ducks have become real pals. They can be down at the other end of the lake, but when Timmy calls “quack quack,” they’ll swim as fast as they can to him! At home, hell be content to sit in the yard watching the birds fly about or feeding the stray squirrel who has become a most frequent visitor. Recently he asked, “Mommy, who made the ducks and the squirrels and the birds?” “God made them,” I answered. Then he lifted his little head and solemnly said, “God IS everywhere . . .”



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