As I reflect on the past week and the close of our Vacation Bible School, the joy of working with children has been renewed for me. I had forgotten how much we can learn from children. Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:3, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I think there is more to learn from children beyond how to enter the kingdom.
Children enjoy life. They wake up with an excitement that says, “I’m up! Bring it on world!” When my son, Tim, was a young boy he would wake me up in the morning with his face almost pressed against mine stating, “Mom, I’m hungry!” He was ready to go as soon as his feet hit the old, paint-stained carpet. His little legs started running and his “lovely” above comfortable voice could be heard throughout the house.
Oh, to start each day with that level of excitement! Wide-eyed, ready for adventure, happy to be around those we love, thankful for the new day…able to eat a giant breakfast without worrying that it will go straight to your thighs! Okay, how about we just camp on adventure, love, and thankful!
As I taught the Kindergarten through first grade last week there was something that shouted at me—besides the kids. They were always ready to try something new, up for adventure, not worried about being embarrassed. Every time I asked for a volunteer, practically every hand in the room went up—with enthusiasm! They were not worried about being embarrassed; they were ready for fun, and ready for a new adventure.
Put a room full of adults in that same situation and ask for volunteers—good luck getting one. It’s like prying a football out of Emmitt Smith’s hands!
Kids are so trusting. They are ready to love everyone unconditionally. They want to love you, and want you to love them in return. Children seem to understand that we all need relationships and connections with others. They will naturally pursue other kids. Take a child to a playground and watch how quickly friendships are formed.
I remember moving into a new neighborhood as a child and my sister and I leaving the house announcing, “We are going out to make friends!” We walked the streets looking for friends, introducing ourselves to everyone we encountered. (I am not proposing this today: It may not be safe. I am merely making the point that we sought out people to connect with.)
At the end of each night, after teaching the children, I received massive group hugs from little, thankful faces. There is nothing like being with happy, appreciative, enthusiastic children! They were thankful that I was there, they were thankful that they were there, and they were thankful to participate. “Teacher! Pick me! Pick me!” was a common theme throughout the week.
One little girl told me, “This is the best day of my life!”
What happened to us adults? Who told us we need to be careful not to embarrass ourselves? Who told us not to get overly excited? Who told us to stop trying new things? Who told us to guard our heart and be cautious about loving too soon? Where did we get the idea that we need more, never being satisfied and never being thankful for what we have?
Let’s start tomorrow with the enthusiasm of a child. Do something different, try something new. Give yourself the freedom to get overly excited. Make a new friend. Love with all your heart. Be thankful for every single thing that God has blessed you with.
Let’s live more like children.