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I’ve been really enjoying Outdoor Secrets with my 7yo but in the story “What the Golden-Rod Did” Mother Nature is brought up repeatedly. My daughter asked, “Who is Mother Nature?” because she hasn’t heard of this person before. I just told her it was someone people made up for fun like saying “Jack Frost must have come last night” and explained that God made everything and causes everything to grow. I’m wondering how other people have dealt with this since we are still early in the book and she will likely continue to come up, having. Lotnof interaction with the creatures. Substituting the word “God” doesn’t sit well with me because these are obviously fictitious stories. It seems to otherwise be a wonderful living book so far.alphabetikaParticipant
I did the exact same thing as you did with my 7yo. I explained that Mother Nature is a made-up character just as these are made up stories, but we know that God created everything, because the Bible is *not* a made-up story.
If you read any of the Thornton Burgess stories, which we have read extensively and enjoyed, this will come up again. I just explain it each time, and by now my daughter has internalized it, I think!
I think you handled it perfectly. We do the same thing. Another story in the book (The Baby Plants’ Bed Coverings) has “Mother Nature” as a main character but also personifies Father Sun, the cold East Wind, Ocean, etc. I think that actually helped make “Mother Nature” just one of the many fun, made-up characters.HollySParticipant
I can’t help but think that Mother Nature didn’t have the same connotation when OS was written as it does today. I explained Mother Nature as a fictional character as well, and discussed how the term is used today. I probably wouldn’t have brought it up, but my older DC are listening in and have come across Mother Nature being treated as a goddess.petitemomParticipant
How I see it,
Gen.1:27 says: God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
If God’s creation has a male and a female aspect and we are created in His/Her image means that God has within Himself a masculine and a feminine aspect.
Mother Nature represents the feminine aspect, the beautiful creation, the nurturing side.
God is not a He. It is a He and a She.
I decided to email my pastor to find out what he thinks and (with his permission) am posting his response, in case anyone finds it helpful. I definitely plan to keep reading the book and I think that my 7yo will “get it” when I explain it to her but it is a subject worth pondering as we go along with this and many books:
God is Spirit. Jesus uses the “anthropomorphic” language “Father” to describe Him. The language defines His role of authority within the Trinity (ie. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). God is no where referred to as “Mother.” Scripture nowhere teaches that He has a male and female side. Unlike Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, God the Father does not have a dual nature. He is complete and self sufficient within Himself (which I have been teaching to the youth recently). Rather than moving from the mortal to the immortal (ie. man —> God), we begin with God in the fullness of all of his attributes.
I also would be careful about substituting “Mother Nature” with God. What is described in the book as “Mother Nature” is likely not the equivalent of the Creator God of the universe.
“Mother Nature” is used as a way to personalize creation, while denying the existence of God. It is a way of worshipping the creation rather than the Creator.
If you must use the book, I would be upfront and explain why the character is used, and use it as a teaching opportunity to proclaim the truth of God.mouseParticipant
We have read about Greek Myths, Ancient pagan beliefs, Norse gods, Mother Nature, God. For us, there is no difference 🙂 One belief does not hold an authority over another – different people are free to believe as they wish 🙂 In this context, Mother Nature is a symbol for all that comes from the Earth – seasons, weather and climate, birth and death, age and youth. Explain that in these stories, some people choose to personify Mother Nature, just as they do for Zeus or God. But it doesn’t mean that they are the same as each other. Just as with other world religions, we teach ‘some people believe….’
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