Provide a crucifix in each bedroom of your home, and anywhere you may have children sit out their disciplinary timeouts. A statue or image of the Blessed Virgin Mary is also a near equally good idea to include with each Crucifix. Images of Saints and other spiritual subjects are good to include in the children’s bedroom.
Depending on the age and knowledge base of your child, explain as needed that Jesus always suffers greater than we. Mary, our Spiritual Mother, is always advocating for us, though we have to trust her enough to tell us when we are wrong.
How Old Is A Child Before They Notice And Need a Crucifix?
When I was about two going onto three years old, the next child after me was born. I was the sixth of eight. My new younger brother was a welcome addition, but for me, it also meant the loss of presumptive protection by my mother from my older siblings. I could no longer be the one under my mother’s feet assured of her protective mantel draped about me.
Early on, an older sibling tested this by first crowding me out from the playing area on the rug until and then backing off as my crying alerted my Mother to take heed. I was unable to explain why I was the only one upset in the house and was sent to my bedroom until I calmed down. I, seeing myself as the victim, was only more upset being the only one receiving discipline. The sentence was even more than I felt I could bear. It was not for 5 minutes, or ten, or even 30 minutes. No, it was until I gave in to what seemed so unfair and accepted that I was the one at fault.
For there our captors asked us
for the words of a song;
Our tormentors, for joy:
“Sing for us a song of Zion!” Psalm 137: 3
I was additionally bereaved, having lost the presumptive protection of my Mother. But what to do as I was confined to my room until I accepted my plight as mischaracterized by others?
As I struggled in my bedroom as to what has happened, I looked up to the Crucifix on the wall. I said to Jesus, “I know you suffer greater than I, but that is not helping me at all.” I turned to the statue of Mary, asking her for help. I also looked to St. Patrick for help. Alas, no relief came until I wore myself out protesting.
Yes, it was a case of sibling rivalry. Yes, it was much more significant to me than for my Mother or brothers. But it was a bigger event for me because it is a point in time that I recall where I can say my conversation with God and the Communion of Saints had already begun. I was not banished to solitary confinement. As young as I was, the Crucifix and other images had meaning for me then as they represented many persons who cared for me in my plight.
How Did The Crucifix Mean So Much To Me By Three Years Of Age?
Before I could speak, I would be in bed listening to my Mother lead my next older brother in morning and evening prayer. She would include all the concerns of a toddler — family members, weather, the flowers, the birds, others who were hungry, etc. As I acquired the language, I would join in the prayers I had heard offered for so long before I understood all the words.
My Mother also drew our attention each morning and evening to the statues of the Crucifix with Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and our Patron Saints. My Mother ensured that we knew who each of these people is to us. She told us to turn to them when we needed help.
It would take years before I returned in prayer to that bedroom of myself at two or three years old, but I much better understood that my recollection and even the contemporary understanding of the conflict with my Mother and brother may not have been all that I perceived. It may have been, but it may not have been. The important thing was that I was not in my bedroom alone and could talk to people whom I could trust.
Jesus, Mary, and the Saints were with me. I was with my trusted friends, my trusted Mother, and my trusted God.
How could I trust those with whom I spoke?
In spite of feelings of great disappointment with my Mother failing to grasp my version of the sibling rivalry, I didn’t harbor feelings of betrayal. Instead, I was confused.
I had only the barest of understanding then and have since grown into a comprehension that my parents loved me so much they put me up for adoption just weeks after my birth. How could adoption be a sign of love? If I was adopted, how could I have a conflict with my Mother two or three years later?
One of the many consequences of Baptism is that I am adopted by God the Father and Jesus become my brother. Mary becomes my adoptive Mother, along with and through the Church. I become co-heir with Jesus of the Kingdom if I but live the life with Jesus that the Father wills for me.
Whatever happened after Baptism, I would always have parents to care for me. My parents trusted in Divine Providence and couldn’t, wouldn’t imagine any other care for me that was better than God could provide.
I was fortunate as I grew up on through adolescence to have two sets of parents: 1) my earthly parents who were very caring, and 2) my heavenly parents who provide for me as I need n every moment and call from me a holy life. My earthly parents should their humility, love for God, and love for me by taking their proper role in my life and allowing God His proper role in my life.
Thank fully, my parents also rightly believed that many children understand much more than they let on.
A Final Prayer
I pray today, under my Crucifix on my wall, that all children be granted such love from their parents.
Peace of Jesus in the womb of Mary be with you.
© 2019 Patrick A. O’Donnell All Rights Reserved