ROOTED IN LOVE ◽ ENCOURAGEMENT
As adults, we are constantly trying to teach children to be more like us.
“Don’t talk with your mouth full.”
“Wash your hands after you go potty.”
“Say please and thank you.”
“Share with your friends.”
“Pick up after yourself.”
“Don’t pick your nose.”
“Use a napkin, not your shirt.”
Do this, do that. Don’t do this, don’t do that.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with helping kids become mature and productive. But in my opinion, there are many ways in which we should become more like children.
For starters, they are so helpful. It’s the sweetest thing when a one-year-old runs over to help you unload the dishwasher, even if she can’t actually reach the cabinets to put anything away.
Or when you’re vacuuming and your toddler mimics your actions with his own toy vacuum. And most kids seem to get a thrill out of taking trash to the trash can, for some strange reason. But it’s so beautiful, because they don’t do it to get anything in return. They do it because they love you and want to help. They don’t look at helping others as a burden, but they enjoy it.
Children are also so trusting and full of faith. When you read them a Bible story, they don’t doubt what you say. They take it as truth and store it in their hearts. Even if they don’t understand everything about God, they believe wholeheartedly and profess it to anyone who will listen. Faith isn’t a struggle in the mind of a child. They simply take your word for it, because they trust you.
One of the most magical things about children is their ability to be joyful in any circumstance. They are experts at going with the flow. They don’t get their undies in a bunch over a change in plans, because they can manage to have fun almost anywhere. I’ve seen it with my own kids. Whether we’re in an auto repair shop, grocery store, hair salon, hardware store, hospital waiting room, or doctor’s office, they always find a way to entertain themselves. They don’t sit there all grouchy, counting down the minutes until they can get out of there. They enjoy the day they’re given and make the most of it.
And how about their eagerness to forgive? Their feelings never stay hurt very long. They simply move on and keep playing. And that’s because they love too big to stay mad. Their hearts have no room for bitterness or resentment. “Forgive and forget” is so easy for a kid.
It’s natural for kids to grow up, and it’s good for us to equip them with tools to help navigate adult life. But while we’re doing that, we should take time to study their behavior. Maybe we could learn a thing or two from our little ones. Their innocence and purity only lasts so long, but maybe we can preserve it by encouraging and fostering the things that they’re already really good at. Things like helping others, having faith, choosing joy, and forgiving. Children have such beautiful hearts, and in some ways, I hope my children never grow up.
“And He said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’”