“‘Why is a raven like a writing-desk?’
‘Come, we shall have some fun now!’ thought Alice. ‘I’m glad they’ve begun asking riddles. – I believe I can guess that,’ she added aloud.
Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn’t much.”
– Excerpts taken from chapter 7 of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Such riddles as the one that The Mad Hatter posed to Alice in Lewis Carroll’s classic book may keep the mind reeling for days. ‘What on earth do ravens and writing-desks have in common?’, Carroll’s readers have wondered for decades. Today, I present my readers with a riddle of my own: What do Kindergarten, Coronavirus, and Christianity Have in Common? Here we have three seemingly unrelated topics, yet I propose that they have more in common than we might think.
You may be sick and tired of hearing about it: COVID 19. The globally infamous, hot-button, oft-debated topic of 2020. No matter what opinions you hold, no matter if you think Coronavirus is underrated or overrated, no matter if you are in your home or gallivanting around town, I guarantee COVID 19 has touched your life in some way, shape, or form. Even if you have escaped the virus, you have not escaped the effects of it. Therefore, I believe it is important to continue to glean whatever spiritual truths we can from this pandemic to further grow ourselves and our faith. Join me as I delve into 5 ways that Kindergarten, Coronavirus, and Christianity are alike.
Commonality #1: With all three, you must…
In Kindergarten, you must wash your hands. It’s very likely that in early elementary, your teacher stressed to you and your classmates the importance of being hygienic – which probably included a whole lot of hand washing. Maybe you sang “wash, wash, wash your hands” to the tune of “row, row, row your boat” as you and your pals scrubbed and sent the germs down the drain. As any teacher knows, a classroom full of children is ideal for spreading sickness like wildfire, and a good teacher will attempt to keep outbreaks to a minimum with good health practices.
During Coronavirus, you must wash your hands. You may find your memory once again being drawn back to those early childhood days of learning proper hand washing. We see it continually on the internet, hear it on the radio, and read it on business signage: “please wash your hands!” It may seem like common sense to keep one’s hands clean, but sadly not everyone is on the same page when it comes to hygiene. (If I had a dollar for every time I saw someone leave a public restroom after skipping the water and soap, I’d be rich. Eww. But, I digress…)
With Christianity, you must wash your hands. Psalm 24:3-4b says, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands…” This may bring our mind back to the priests of the Old Testament who could only enter the tabernacle after washing (Exodus 30:20). As New Testament Christians, we are now part of God’s holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5) and symbolically, we are to be “washed” in baptism before entering the Lord’s presence. (Acts 22:16)
Washing your hands isn’t only important in Kindergarten and during Coronavirus, but it is essential with Christianity!
What do Kindergarten, Coronavirus, and Christianity have in common? Commonality #2: With all three, you must…
In Kindergarten, you must follow your leader. You probably spent many a recess playing “Follow the Leader”: a simple game where one individual leads a line of people who mimic his every action. More importantly, though, you probably spent many a class period learning to “follow the leader”…that is, your teacher. School is not solely about education, but can also be a fruitful training ground to learn virtues such as obedience, adherence to rules, and an eagerness to please one’s superior.
During Coronavirus, you must follow your leader. From quarantine, to social distancing, to increased cleaning measures, there are many new guidelines coming at us daily from our White House. COVID 19 has forced many of us to reveal whether we will be rebellious or righteous in response to the guidelines of our governing authorities. Will we cheerfully submit to those who have the rule over us (the President, our governors, etc.)? Or will we do things our own way if we deem their mandates unreasonable?
With Christianity, you must follow your leader. This leader may differ from person to person, depending on gender, marital state, citizenship, etc. For example, if you are a married woman, your husband is your head…whereas if you are a single or married man, your head is Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3). A child within the home is under the authority of his or her parents (Ephesians 6:1), and a citizen of a nation is subject to the authorities of their land (1 Peter 2:13-14). Furthermore, Jesus our Lord says, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34, emphasis mine)
Following your leader isn’t only important in Kindergarten and during Coronavirus, but it is essential with Christianity!
What do Kindergarten, Coronavirus, and Christianity have in common? Commonality #3: With all three, you must…
In Kindergarten, you must cover your mouth. You probably heard it a time or two (hundred) from your teacher. An uncovered cough or sneeze can spread sickness and wreak havoc in a room full of youngsters. Your teachers probably encouraged you to keep those germs at bay by coughing/sneezing into your elbow or, at the least, a hand that would quickly be washed!
During Coronavirus, you must cover your mouth. It has been suggested (but not mandated) by health officials to wear a mask while in public to keep the germs of coughs and sneezes from projecting onto those around us (yuck!). If not wearing a mask, it is at least important to make sure that the germs are contained by completely covering your mouth. This seems like another “no-brainer”, but again, there are many who do not care to practice good hygiene, thus making the reminders necessary.
With Christianity, you must cover your mouth. Proverbs 30:32 admonishes, “If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth.” We must constantly evaluate if what is coming out of our mouths is Christlike, and if the answer is “no”, we must amend our speech. Are lies coming out (Proverbs 12:22)? I need to cover my mouth. Gossip (1 Timothy 5:13)? I need to cover it. Filthiness (Ephesians 5:4)? You guessed, it…my mouth needs covering. If bad things are flying out of my mouth, it’s a sign that I am “sick” and thus highly contagious to those around me.
Covering your mouth isn’t only important in Kindergarten and during Coronavirus, but it is essential with Christianity!
What do Kindergarten, Coronavirus, and Christianity have in common? Commonality #4: With all three, you must keep…
In Kindergarten, you must keep hands to yourself. (This is of course only required in certain situations.) There was always that one kid in school that was hitting, pinching, and punching; or taking things like crayons and toys from his classmates. The teacher probably reprimanded him, “keep your hands to yourself!” – because the bully was using his hands for harming and not for helping.
During Coronavirus, you must keep hands to yourself. Social distancing continues to be an important measure used to slow the spread of COVID 19. The White House guidelines indicate keeping six feet apart from those who are not of one’s household. Physical contact with those outside the family has been temporarily put on hold to minimize sickness and protect the vulnerable of our nation. Because our hands have the potential to bring harm, they must be kept to ourselves.
With Christianity, you must keep hands to yourself. 1 Timothy 5:22 warns, “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.” In other words, don’t be too quick to jump to judgmental conclusions about others…you end up bringing judgment upon yourself. Are we to take concerned action when we see a brother falling into sin? You bet…but not to the extent that we make ourselves judge over his life, critiquing his every motive and assuming the worst of him. Rather, we ought to judge righteous judgment that is not based on appearance (John 7:24), acting in a spirit of meekness when correction is necessary (Galatians 6:1), and leaving the rest up to God who is the ultimate judge of mankind (Romans 14:4).
Keeping hands to yourself isn’t only important in Kindergarten and during Coronavirus, but it is essential with Christianity!
What do Kindergarten, Coronavirus, and Christianity have in common? Commonality #5: With all three, you must…
In Kindergarten, you must stay with your group. Many children have curious tendencies that can get them into trouble…like wandering and getting separated from the rest of the field trip group and nearly giving the teacher a heart attack! This is why head counts are commonplace on group excursions, along with the dreaded “matching tee shirts”. It’s easy for a child to wander off and get lost in a crowd, so teachers must constantly remind their students to stick together.
During Coronavirus, you must stay with your group. In the early stages of quarantine, it was advised not to socialize with those outside of your immediate family to cut down on virus exposure. We were all urged to stay close to home and only go out for essentials such as groceries. Many were laid off work, and spending quality time at home with their families was a silver lining to the otherwise dark cloud hovering over America.
With Christianity, you must stay with your group. In our throw-away culture, it is becoming easier and easier for people to walk out on their church family without even a backwards glance. Hebrews 10:24-25 condemns this behavior: “…let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Nobody has the perfect family, and nobody has the perfect church family. We all have idiosyncrasies that can get under each other’s skin…and unfortunately, sometimes blatant sin in our midst. Nonetheless, this should never cause us to abandon Christ’s church for which He died. Rather, we ought to practice patience, teaching one another (2 Timothy 2:24-26), bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), and be tenderhearted and forgiving to each other (Ephesians 4:32). We can trust God to separate the wheat from the chaff in the end.
Staying with your group isn’t only important in Kindergarten and during Coronavirus, but it is essential with Christianity!
What do Kindergarten, Coronavirus, and Christianity have in common? A whole lot! With all three, I must wash my hands, follow my leader, cover my mouth, keep hands to myself, and stay with my group. There is, however, a very notable difference between the three: while Kindergarten and Coronavirus are only temporary, our Christianity is eternal. Kindergarten and Coronavirus are here and then gone from our lives in the blink of an eye, but we are forever left with the spiritual lessons they pointed us to.
Oh, and about that riddle…
“”Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
“No, I give it up,” Alice replied, “What’s the answer?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter.
“Nor I,” said the March Hare.
Alice sighed wearily. “I think you might do something better with the time,” she said, “than wasting it in asking riddles that have no answers.””
– Excerpt taken from chapter 7 of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
May you find yourself faring better than Alice today, my friends.
For God’s glory,
Chelsea Bolks is a church of Christ minister’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.