Have you ever laid back at a pool or park or something, with your friends and just heard the conversations little kids have? No not creeper-ish over hearing skills but just in passing, hearing their excitement at how the people are screaming, or running away from the water splashing them. Some of the best kid conversations are their arguments with who has the better dad:
Kid one: "Well my dad can play soccer"
Kid two: "Well my dad is taller than yours "
Or just seeing their beaming faces when their parents win first place at something. I was always so proud of my parents. Seeing my dad playing sports, or just listening to how the other kids would gawk at how tall he was. My favorite had to be when people were lost and would ask my dad if he could see such and such person wearing such and such thing.
I ask myself, what happened when I grew? Where is the pride I felt at others' successes instead of jealousy? Where is the wonder of how things work, and the curiosity to figure it out? Where is the sheer excitement for simplicity, or the bravery of making a new friend without the shame or fear they may not like me back? Where is the innocence, the purity, the sheer joy that life is an adventure?
Children can teach us things everyday if we just take the time to listen to them. So here it goes... story time. There is is a quote by C.S. Lewis which says, "A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest."
Before children's story at church, the announcer always reads the same bible verse, "Dejad a los niños venir a mí y no se los impidais porque de ellos es el reino de los cielos" Let the children come... Side note isn't it incredible the amount of times that Jesus invites? He invites us into the Sabbath, He invites us to rest, He invites us to commune with him, He invites us to the dinner table and in this story Jesus invites children. The first point: the same way a kid gets excited for the birthday party invitation, be exited at Jesus' invitations. It is is a special, personally made envelope that has been made just for you to enjoy.
Imagine with me what those kids were doing before, probably sitting in the dirt listening to Jesus tell parables, and just telling each other how cool it would be to meet Jesus:
Kid one: "I heard he made a blind man see!!"
Kid two:" Well I heard HE BROUGHT SOMEONE BACK TO LIFE!!"
...and continuing to play in dirt or mud pile they were making. Lesson two: tell others. Share your message with someone else! Children are always sharing their thoughts and adults laugh but there is no fear in what others will think of them, they just share. If something cool, wondrous, unexpected, has happened to you why hide it? Share it with others. It could cause excitement and hope to pass on to someone else.
The best part of the story comes. The moms hear these conversations and decide their child needs to meet their hero. And once the child catches a glimpse here come the disciples, "Uhhh nope, the master has more important people to see." I remain speechless at what follows. Jesus says, "Let them come." Humility-- the next lesson- although benefits of this virtue may not be reaped here on earth there is no question a humble person has infinite value. Jesus playing with children, being silly, laughing, making funny faces, and telling the best stories. He is humble, taking the time to spend time with a population of little importance that are at times ignored, or seen as pestilences.
Fourth lesson-- always be amazed at Jesus. His uncharacteristic ways of doing things, His sense of humor, being amazed at God- questioning God, talking to God, laughing with God, crying with God. Here is the secret I believe to never growing up-- by wondering about God, questioning God, and seeking God we can be like the child "for their's is the kingdom of heaven."
Chantal Williams is a physical therapy student at Andrews University and has been involved with Enspire Productions since 2011.