~ by Lisa Jacobson ~
Children have beautiful eyes. I love to look long and hard into them: the mirror of their souls. This gift of lovely eyes is from God, of course. How often are those beautiful eyes taught to really see beauty? Are they looking and appreciating the sunset out the back door? Are they enraptured by the sound of a lone violin? How can we encourage those beautiful eyes of perception?
Beauty. How rich our lives are because of it! The thought of life without beauty conjures up visions of grey, dusty, plain nothingness. Lifeless surroundings void of beauty do not bring the most profitable education to a child. Nor is it the way to reflect the glory of God into the education of the child. Beauty is ours to behold, because God has given it to us. He made all things and therefore is responsible for this beauty we are privileged to behold. Augustine refers to God as “beauty” Himself: “Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new; late have I loved you.” G.K. Chesterton said when reflecting on beauty, “Beauty in the midst of a sinful world is an Ebenezer, a monument intended to be a gateway to constantly help us see God’s mercies, a true ladder to heaven.” Wherever a child is in their journey through this world, beauty helps to define, calm, comfort, and, as G.K. says, it presents a “ladder to heaven”.
Inserting an introduction to the Fine Arts into a child’s life is a useful path when desiring to familiarize a child with beautiful things. A logical mode of learning would be to do this through music, art, and poetry.
It is good when young children learn to listen to good music on a regular basis. For starters, make time for listening to the invigorating sounds such as “Water Music, suite no. 1 in F: Overture” by George Frideric Handel, or the mournful “Waltz in C sharp Minor, op. 64: no. 2” by Frederic Chopin for a short time each day. With carefully planned music listening, a child will not only learn to identify these great pieces but will also learn the art of enjoying beauty. A child as young as 2 or 3 can learn to listen to music as a pleasing exercise. Singing is a child’s natural expression. His or her world can be filled with singing. There are songs of teaching, songs of doctrine, folk songs, and silly songs. These words and rhythm come naturally to a child. Fill their world with music and their eyes will see deep canyons of beauty.
Another avenue of beauty in a young child’s life is art. Take for example the painting “Playing in the Sand” by Mary Cassatt. Some pointed questions between a parent and child to encourage the discussion of beauty is an enjoyable exercise by both. When you look at this painting, what is the first thing you think of? What are the colors that look interesting to you? Does this painting
remind you of anyone you know? What do you think these girls are doing? Would you hang this in your room? You’ve spent a few enjoyable moments with your child discussing beautiful art. The hanging of a poignant piece of art in their bedroom will long be remembered as they spend moments each day dreamily looking and drifting off to sleep.
Poetry is another entity of beauty.
“Solitude” by A.A. Milne
I have a house where I go
When there’s too many people,
Where no one can be;
I have a house where I go,
Where no one says anything—so
There is no one but me.
The cadence, the sing-songy rhythm, and the wonder of the words brings enchantment to the heart and mind. Such beauty when enjoyed as a child is not lost in adulthood.
Often, children who are introduced to beautiful music, art, and poetry will develop that appreciation, and will one day strongly desire to make their own beauty. Charlotte Mason said, “Find beauty, study beauty, declare beauty.” When children begin to step out on their own, perhaps painting their own flowers or asking for piano lessons or dancing around the living room as “Mambo No. 5” by Perez Prado is cha-cha-ing, they are declaring beauty for all to see. This is a very good thing. A parent with eyes to see the bend of that child is a blessing indeed.
The Creator has created an endless array of beautiful things. There are mountains to climb, berries to pick, sunsets to see, insects to observe, songs to sing, bread to bake, bells to ring, birds to watch, and so much more. He makes everything beautiful in its time. Perhaps the time is right for beauty to surround the beautiful-eyed children in your life.