Where I live, there’s an art studio where children go to learn to paint, sculpt and create. Each season, a new crop of clay creatures (a 3-legged alligator, a lopsided bird, a sitting penguin) are nestled underneath the bushes in front of the building. I love the thought of how the children must look forward to displaying their creations in this secret sculpture jungle.
One thing, though, that’s really bothered me about this art studio is a cornstalk-skirted woman with a paper bonnet, holding a basket, who presides over the sculpture jungle. The contents of her basket changes with the seasons, but she’s always there – faded, broken here and there, looking rather ratty. Sometimes I sigh as I go by, tired of seeing her and wishing they would for Pete’s sake take her down or replace her with something new! I admit that I’m a change fanatic in some areas of my life. I love, love, love to rearrange my office and home furniture. About every 3 months, I get the “rearrange bug” and I *must* rearrange and clear out clutter.
Recently, I stepped back, though, and thought about that cornstalk-skirted woman. I began to think about her from the point of view of a child. I remember how much consistency and familiarity meant to me as a child. Small things like seeing a cornstalk-skirted woman each week, must add a sense of stability for the young art students. Life is so full of change. And as we grow up, the change and movement increases so that we might tend to grasp at and hold on to the familiar in an attempt to secure our own stability. We might mourn the loss of a familiar building or tree. Visiting a childhood home or town might bring up complex emotions and some core stability is shifted. (Of course, we must remember that our stability is only reliably found in Christ.) As adults, how are we modeling assurance and stability for the children around us?
I’m understanding more the need for stability and consistency for children. I’m coming to appreciate that cornstalk-skirted woman as a symbol of the preservation of innocence. So, carry on, steadfast cornstalk-skirted woman. Stand firm!
As an adult, what do you think about change and consistency?