Kids Are Special

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. -MATTHEW  19:14 (ESV)
 
KIDS ARE SPECIAL.  I AM REMINDED OF THAT EVERY MORNING this week as we are off and running into a marvelous week of VBS (Vacation Bible School). The enthusiasm and excitement of both kids and workers is contagious.
 
The week began for me when Megan (our Children’s Ministry Director) arrived Monday morning with her children in tow along with two or three others in the kitchen before things officially got started.  Without exception all the children were sporting smiles that stretched from ear to ear.  Animated voices and gestures full of anticipation, energy and happiness are the things that especially caught my attention.
 
Have you ever noticed, most kids haven’t developed great filters for their conversations?  They are not afraid to tell you what is on their mind.  No question is out of bounds and a child’s point of view can often rock us to our core.  Their insight and simplicity of understanding are often uncanny and humbling.  It can also be quite revealing as to what is going on in their world.
 
Kids are impressionable, vulnerable, trusting and eager to learn.  Their relative innocence is touching and disarming.  They are, most often, open books eager for someone who loves them to write the love of Jesus on their souls.  This is why Jesus was so incensed when His disciples tried to keep the kids away from Him.  This is why we should be eager to see our kids fall in love with Jesus and why we should be diligent in teaching them.  This is why Jesus warns about the severe ramifications of harming or misleading children (Matthew 18:6).
 
Zina (a good friend mine) shared one of these, “out of the mouth of babes” comments that exposed a self-confessed weakness that many of us share—quick and unjustified judgments.
 
On a particular occasion, Zina took her niece, Karin, to play with the daughter (Yara) of a friend (Samar).  The two children played beautifully together with pleasure and joy while the adults visited.  At the end of Zina’s visit with her friend, while helping Karin tidy up and put things away, Zina asked Karin the question most of us would have asked, “Did you and Yara have a good time?”
 
In the words of Zina, this was the conversation that followed:
 
“With pure joy in her voice, she replied, ‘Yes!’ My logical second question was, ‘What did you do?’ ‘Yara and I played with her toys,’ was her response. Karin paused, and then added, ‘Yara has a beautiful room.’
 
“With false assumption coming from my unhealthy way of thinking, at least at that time, I said to her, ‘Karin, thank God that you also have a beautiful room.’ To my surprise, that little five year old girl said to me, ‘Khalto (which means auntie in Arabic), I didn’t say my room is not beautiful, I only said that Yara has a beautiful room.’
 
“I literally stopped everything and looked at her eyes, feeling that I was standing in front of a judge in some sort of trial, trying to define my position, yet having nothing to say. I declared myself guilty without waiting to be set free by the judge. . . .
 
“Her gentle spirit and maturity surpass her age. When I am around her, I no longer hunt for opportunities to teach her about life. I am there to pay attention to what I could learn from her and enjoy her presence.”
 
There is so much that each of us can learn from children if, in humility, we allow ourselves to become like little children. Thinking about this, I’m sort of missing the youth of my own grown children now, wishing I had paid more attention.  I wonder just how much I missed because I was too grown up and too busy to be bothered? I love you Jess.  I love you Gideon.  I am sorry for not paying better attention.  You are God’s priceless gifts to your mother and me. I now have this amazing opportunity to learn some of the things I missed the first go around.  My teachers?  They’re called grand-kids—four amazing boys! Aren’t kids great?!