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Gift to a child

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A giant road grader. An exact replica of a John Deere backhoe. A bag of hardwood building blocks, complete with beveled edges. It was such a happy scene -- presents for a child on a special occasion. Yet the occasion stirred my thought deeply. What is the best gift an adult can give to a child? ``What is the bottom line concerning gifts?'' I thought. ``Spiritual treasures'' was the answer.

A week later the backhoe's arm looked a bit overextended, several blocks were missing from the block set, and someone had left the road grader out in the rain, with a bit of rust as the result.

The rust turned my thought to something Christ Jesus said about treasures: ``Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.'' 1

We might think of ``treasures in heaven'' as spiritual understanding and love of God. Nothing could be more lasting to a child than a working knowledge of his or her Father-Mother, of the Love that holds its creation in perfection. Such a spiritual foundation promotes the normal, healthy growth of a child and ensures continued progress.

Where can parents discover such knowledge? And how can they ``give'' it to their children?

For many centuries individuals of all races and nationalities have found such knowledge in the Bible. Parents have cherished Biblical stories and verses as among the most important things they can pass along to their children.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and author of its textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, makes many references to a richness in her own childhood gained from a solid grounding in what the Bible teaches about God. ``From Puritan parents,'' Mrs. Eddy says, ``the discoverer of Christian Science early received her religious education. In childhood, she often listened with joy to these words, falling from the lips of her saintly mother, `God is

able to raise you up from sickness;' and she pondered the meaning of that Scripture she so often quotes: `And these signs shall follow them that believe; . . . they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.' '' 2

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