Monday, September 10, 2012

Hide and Seek

The children in this video clip are enjoying a boisterous game of hide and seek.  What is amusing to us is the fact that they are playing this game in a room that is completely empty; a room with no hiding place.  Somehow, this does not discourage them in the least. 

The game works for children this age because they are just at the beginning of an understanding of theory of mind.  We have theory of mind when we realize that each of us has our own thoughts, our own body of knowledge, and our own perspective.  These children realize that they each have their own thoughts because otherwise the game of hide and seek would make no sense.  How could I hide from you if we are thinking the same things?

But, they don’t yet understand the extent of theory of mind which is why the big sister can hide her eyes and assume her brother does not see her because she can’t see him.  Therefore, finding and being found, even in an empty room, are quite a delight. 

The development of theory of mind is the precursor to the development of empathy.  If we can think different things, then we can feel different things.  If we can feel different things then I can try to step into your world and find out what you are feeling.  Theory of mind is the beginning of fellowship. 

 I suspect it is also a part of faith.  Here is Job’s theory of the mind of God:

“I know that you can do all things,
    and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,

    things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
 ‘Hear, and I will speak;
    I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
    but now my eye sees you;
 therefore I despise myself,
    and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:2-6

Faith allows us to realize what we cannot possibly understand.  God is separate from us and yet He knows us completely.  We cannot hide from Him.  He knows our thoughts, our wants, our needs and our sins.  We fear Him and we need Him; and this leads us to worship Him. 

Just as small children are delighted when they hide and are found.  We are delighted that our God knows us and loves us.  We are blessed to live where His grace abounds.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
 The Lord looks down from heaven;
    he sees all the children of man;
 from where he sits enthroned he looks out
    on all the inhabitants of the earth,
 he who fashions the hearts of them all
    and observes all their deeds. Psalm 33:12-15

I have a situation in my class that requires a strong theory of mind.  I prefer to assume that my students all think like me and value the same things I do.  (What? They don’t all LOVE educational psychology?!)  

I have a suspicion that something happened, but I can’t prove it.  I am going to have to meet with a student and figure out the proper response to achieve a balance between Law and Gospel.  Only God knows for sure what happened.  Only God knows for sure if my response is correct. I am not all-knowing, but I do know this situation calls for prayer and guidance. 

From this I know that I am blessed to be His child.  I am a child with just an inkling of theory of mind; a child given faith in a God who knows all things.

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
    on those who hope in his steadfast love. Psalm 33:18