How to be gentle can be a tough lesson for parents to teach children. I can still hear my Dad’s voice saying, “Gentle Tamara, gentle,” as I held my new kitten when I was around seven years old. I am sure he feared I would pop her head off with my tight hold.
Babies and young children have a primal urge to touch, and squeeze, and feel. My two older children at ages five and six are just now beginning to understand gentleness as they handle their baby sister. Sometimes a hug is too tight, a high five knocks her over or a swing is too high.We have used their understanding of “gentle with the baby” in other areas of life. The animals on the farm and the new plants in the garden need to be treated with the same care as our baby. I think the world as a whole would benefit from the same lesson. All too often we think of the Earth as our Mother, something supposed to care for us. We need to flip that notion upside down and treat the Earth with the same gentleness and care we would our own children. In fact God calls us to be stewards of the earth:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”Genesis 1:26
The land is mine and you are but foreigners and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land. Lev. 25:23-24
As stewards of creation we are compelled to treat all living things with the same gentle touch and compassionate care we would a newborn baby. I’m still learning. I hope and pray you might consider one way your impact on the Earth could be more gentle. After all, God promised he would never again destroy the Earth and everything in it. Shouldn’t we do the same?