In Matthew 18, Jesus brings a child before his disciples and tells them that if they don’t start acting like children, they won’t get into the kingdom of heaven. Ok, so that’s a bit of a paraphrase. (Here it is for real). Now I don’t know about your kids, but if you acted like mine all the time, I’m not so sure you would get into heaven. Don’t get me wrong, I love them to the moon and back, but angels they are not.
Fortunately, Jesus wasn’t telling his disciples that they should be self-centered, whiny, nose-picking, diaper-filling children. Jesus was pointing to other things which I can see in my own kids.
- Children are full of trust. They rely completely on their parents and adults around them to fulfill all of their needs. Think about a baby. Clare at 10 months old cannot communicate what she needs. She trusts that I will figure it out every time and take care of her.
- Children have no worries or cares for tomorrow, or yesterday. They live completely in the moment, focused on the here and now. They don’t trouble themselves with what went right or wrong yesterday and they harbor no fears about what may or may not happen tomorrow.
- Children have an incredible capacity for wonder and awe. We will go for a walk and Rosie will stop and smell a flower as if it was the first flower she had ever seen (and she will tell you, every time, “Look Mommy, Look! The most beautiful flower I’ve ever seen, I’ve never seen one before!”).
- Children are always learning something. They seek greater knowledge every day. Sometimes it seems like they need to learn more than they need to breathe. Side story: There are pros and cons here for the parents. Pros – your child is learning to walk, talk, write, read, etc. Great! Cons: When your 4yr old and 2yr old learn that when the baby cries it means that mom had to put her down because she is coming back into their room to tell them to go to bed for the 10th time so they scurry back in bed before she gets in the room to act like they weren’t just jumping on the bed – great cause and effect learning, frustration for the mother.
- Children don’t need complicated answers, at least the little ones don’t. As children get older, the wonderful question “But why?” comes into play. This ties back into the constantly learning piece.
- Children don’t care what others are thinking. If they are moved to dance, they dance. If they are moved to cry, they cry. They aren’t concerned about putting on a show or a mask for appearances’ sake. (see my last post about that).
Trust, contentment, wonder, a quest for knowledge, simplicity – these are some of the qualities that I see in my children which inspire my faith every day.