“Why aren’t there more children’s books for boys?” Parents ask me this frequently. My answer, “I don’t know.” But it’s a great question especially for Christian children’s literature.
One Saturday night our five-year-old son couldn’t fall asleep. He wasn’t hungry or thirsty so we knew something bothered him. He confessed, monsters were in the house. So we did what every parent would do ̶ the monster chase. We shooed monsters out from under the bed and from inside the closets and behind all his curtains and chased them outside. No more monsters! Certainly, after such a successful monster chase he’d finally settle down, but fear still gripped his heart.
“What if they get back into our house?” he asked pitifully.
At that point, only God’s peace would calm his spirit, but how could we make a fearful boy understand God’s protection? If his imagination conceived horrifying monsters, couldn’t he imagine God’s fearsome warrior angels, too? Reassuring him the Bible was full of stories of God’s mighty angels sent to fight for and protect God’s people like Daniel in the lions’ den (Daniel 6:22), we explained how God still sends His guardian angels to protect us when we’re afraid, too (Psalm 34:7).
So we prayed, “God please send your mighty, warrior angels with fiery swords to protect our home. Place two at the front door and two at the back door so no one will harm us. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.” God’s comfort came (and I’m sure his angels, too).
The next morning, the Sunday comics opened to Pat Brady’s Rose is Rose. It pictured Pasquale (Rose’s preschool son) sitting on the doctor’s examining table with his cherub-looking guardian angel hovering above him. Fearful Pasquale said to his guardian angel, “Do you mind? The doctor’s coming in soon.” The angel transformed from a cute cherub to a mighty sword-slinging warrior angel until the room barely contained his fierce stature. Pasquale breathes a sigh of relief, “Thanks!” And his guardian angel replied, “No problem. Most doctors prefer me this way.” Twenty years later, Rose is Rose still adorns our refrigerator.
Children need their imaginations matched to biblical truths. Often, Bible curriculum wrongly portrays angels as simply cherub-like or emasculated versions of the truth. If children’s imaginations (especially boys) can contrive frightening monster images, then won’t knowing God’s angels are a fearsome match bring more comfort than a simplistic and false, fairy-like images?