Finding kids books these days with God even mentioned is a challenge. Finding good kids books with God mentioned is an even bigger challenge.
I’m reading Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, an adaptation of the original by Miguel de Cervantes by Margaret Hodges for kids.
In chapter two, Don Quixote famously takes on the windmills, thinking they are giants. Sancho, his faithful companion who thinks Don Quixote is crazy but goes along with him anyways, being promised a kingdom as his reward. He’s the king so his wife would be the queen.
“My wife wouldn’t be worth two cents as a queen,” replied Sancho. “She would do better as a countess, and even then, God help her.”
“Leave it in God’s hands,” said the knight, “but don’t be satisfied with any title less than governor.”
After his fight with the windmills:
Don Quixote: “In the end, my good sword will prevail over his (the magician who turned the giants into windmills) evil arts.”
“As God wills,” Sancho replies.
Later, Don Quixote tells Sancho to not defend him against knights he fights as it’s against the laws of chivalry.
“I promise,” said Sancho. “I will keep that law as strictly as I keep the Sabbath.”
I wish every book I read that these truths in it. I wish I had some of these responses in my life’s situations.
How many times have I wished I said or even had the attitude or belief in challenging situations of “As God wills”? Or “Leave it in God’s hands and don’t be satisfied with any less”? How many times should I have responded “But God knows me, and that is enough” to a situation instead of with anger, resentment, and hostility?
This is great stuff for me. I recognize it when I read it but my kids only absorb it subconsciously, storing it later for future use.
This book has constant references to God:
“May God guide you”, “God be with you”, “God speed you”, “May God preserve you”, “But God knows me, and that’s enough”, “Liberty is one of heaven’s best gifts. A man should risk even his life for liberty”, “In God’s hands be it”
Don Quixote gives advice to Sancho:
“First, fear God. Second, remember who you are…”
“Remember that you have not earned this favor by your own merit”
“Don’t speak harshly to the man you have to punish; the pain of the punishment is enough…” [I substituted kids for man here.] “Show mercy, for the mercy of God shines more brightly in our eyes than His justice.”
Why do we have to go back 400 years old to get such rich stories filled with God-fearing characters as memorable as Don Quixote and Sancho? Characters who live out “As God wills”. Characters who everyone else thinks are wacko but they themselves have the strength and conviction to stick to their beliefs. Neither care what others think of them. They are the butt of practical jokes but both adhere to their beliefs better than superglue. They follow their true North.
They live their lives following their hearts and God is in their hearts.
I pray I can write such stories; ones that will reflect God’s will yet make an impact in young people’s hearts. My goal is to make Him known, subtly, through my character’s struggles and responses to life situations and live out “As God wills.”