When God made the animals on day 6, He made them unique and purposeful. Have you ever watched a firefly flash his lantern? What about thousands of them flashing together as seen in our nearby Smoky Mountains every June? How do they do that? More interestingly, why? This tiny little bug exists in many species around the globe, yet only in a few places known to us do they come together in conventions to flash synchronously for a couple of weeks each year, lighting up the woods like Christmas in summer, then disband to go back to their own little homes. Wow. We only have theories as to why they even perform this ritual.
However fascinating the firefly is, there are many things it doesn’t do. It doesn’t study other animals; there aren’t firefly libraries of books with copious information about the skunk or the groundhog or the owl. It doesn’t analyze or sculpt or compose; it doesn’t cook or draw or write novels. Fireflies aren’t made in the image of God. They do what they were created to do, which is mostly flash their flashers, feed their predators, and procreate.
What other creature on God’s planet can do what the firefly does? It specifically fulfills its job in His Creation! He made it and called it good, with the rest of His good ideas. When He was finished, He sat back to look at all His Work and said it was Very Good. Only 1 piece, 1 creature, received the very breath of God upon his debut, and that was the man, the Adam. That is what makes him special, the crown of creation, and with him all his procreated descendants upon the earth.
Only mankind has the ability and desire to be creative, to decorate, be artistic, leave behind replicas of things he saw while he was alive here. Paintings, sculptures, murals, books, and photography are all examples of the creative nature of mankind; all of them can outlast a man’s lifespan and share his impressions and thoughts. Music, dance, and film all speak to this also, leaving behind whiffs of God’s breath in those specific personalities.
As parents, part of our job is to notice the stamp of God’s creativity on our unique children and to help cultivate that in them. Another part of our job is to help them appreciate the art and music they encounter, to sift it and discern the good, lovely, and praiseworthy from the degrading, dishonorable, and unlovely. Learning to create it themselves is a valuable component of that process, and so is observing it. Art & music classes, art shows, concerts, dance recitals, and plays are all important opportunities not to be neglected in the education of our children as whole, functional, God-breathed creatures. Learning to appreciate art in its many forms and using discernment to determine where God’s stamp lies is one huge characteristic that separates us from the fireflies and the other creatures. It also draws us closer to the nature of God, who is the Original Artist, the Original Musician, the Original Sculptor.
When you receive those early offerings of creativity: the drippy watercolor painting, the droopy clay dog, the slightly out-of-tune instrumental or vocal number, the clumsy dance routine, recognize that your child is taking the first steps toward mimicry of His Creator God; he/she is separating herself from the bugs and animals. That is a beautiful thing. It must gladden the heart of our Father to see those first fruits with His Fingerprints all over them.
Take the chances given to you to cultivate this in your family: go to good plays, read good books, go to good art museums, take in good concerts. Discuss them and talk about what makes them praiseworthy, what shows you God’s Image stamped on the human creators. Then go catch some fireflies!