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How I quit sucking my thumb

A spiritual look at issues of interest to young people

When I was a KID, I sucked my thumb. My mom and dad hoped I would outgrow it.

But when I started school, I still did it. I didn't see any reason why I should stop. It wasn't hurting anybody. And it tasted pretty good, too! So I didn't really listen when my parents tried to explain why I shouldn't be sucking my thumb anymore.

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Later I found out that my parents even began praying about this thumb-sucking. That is, they listened for thoughts coming to them from God, who was everyone's Father and Mother - theirs, too. God is Love, and all the thoughts God gives His children are loving ones that help you and heal you.

Some of the thoughts that came to my parents as they prayed were that I was always comforted in God. And that I was always satisfied by God. And that I could never feel I didn't have something I needed.

They prayed to see how my progress in life was "the law of God." This is part of a sentence that says "... progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, pg. 233). It was progressive for me to stop sucking my thumb, and God could help me stop.

My parents also began talking to me about their thoughts from God. I liked hearing about God, and so I began to listen more when they talked about reasons not to suck my thumb. I remember considering the possibility of stopping. But still, I had been doing it for as long as I could remember. I enjoyed it.

One day my dad made me a business offer. He would pay me a dime for every day that I did not suck my thumb. (This was another idea that came to him when he was praying.) I was ready to listen. I had been thinking more and more that maybe I should stop (and had actually tried a few times). In that moment I knew I could stop. So I said yes.

To my surprise, Dad then added, "But, every time I see your thumb in your mouth, you owe me a nickel." After carefully thinking it over, I accepted.

Next morning I ran into his bathroom, demanding my dime. With shaving cream all over his face, he looked down and said, "You owe me a nickel!" I couldn't believe it. I knew I hadn't sucked my thumb all day long.

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He returned to his shaving. "When I went in to check on you last night, your thumb was in your mouth. So you owe me a nickel."

"That isn't fair! I was asleep."

That was when he told me that I could have complete control of what I did - whether I was asleep or awake. He explained that I was always the child of God, and was always in God's care, day and night. There was never a moment when I couldn't do what was right.

Dad told me there was nothing that happened without thinking. If I didn't want to suck my thumb when I was sleeping, there was no way that my thumb would just jump into my mouth all by itself. (Then he collected his nickel.)

Well, he was right. I prayed the next night before going to sleep. And sure enough, he told me that my thumb was not near my mouth when he looked in on me! I never sucked my thumb again after that.

I really liked those ideas from God - that I was always in His/Her care, and that I had control over my thoughts whether I was asleep or awake. Since then I have found a helpful verse in the Bible (Ps. 1:2). It is talking about people who keep out bad thoughts. It says their "delight is in the law of the Lord." That they "meditate day and night" in God's law.

Father-Mother God, Loving me,- Guard me when I sleep; Guide my little feet Up to Thee. Mary Baker Eddy

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