Friday, February 27, 2009

On Being Childlike

Someone has said, "We are born original, we die copies." And, as Steve Thompson says, "You will only be a good you, you will be a poor anyone else."

One day, Jesus said, "...unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." He was talking to a group of grown-ups, people who were once children. But, they grew up. Children fascinate me. They have commonalities Jesus may have been referring to.

Children have an honesty that makes grown-ups uncomfortable. A child will look you in the eye and say, "Your breath stinks!"
One day, when my oldest daughters were small, I walked into their room. They were hiding behind their bed, whispering.
"What are you two doing?" I asked.
Lauren, the younger of the two, replied,"We're not eating candy!"

Children carry an innocence that cuts to the heart. When Allison, my oldest daughter, was very young (before the candy episode) I arrived home later than usual. She asked, "Where were you tonight?"
"I went to visit a sick man."
"Is he better?"
"Is he going to die?"
Without hesitation, she said, "Well did you give him a kiss and a hug? You wouldn't want him to die without a kiss and a hug."

Children have wonder. I have met few grown-ups who have wonder. As an educator, I have seen the correlation between wonder and knowledge. As knowledge increases, wonder decreases. As we gain information and understanding of 'how the world works' the world, and all it contains, is less amazing. Abraham Joshua Heschel said, "I did not ask for success; I asked for wonder. And God gave it to me."

The list goes on. Children:
are imaginative
love a good story
glad to be a part of whatever is going on (and don't wait for an invitation)
love to sing
are inquisitive
love to draw, paint, cut, creative
don't worry about their wardrobe (or whether their socks match)

But, most importantly, children seem to be comfortable in their own skin; they don't mind their quirky, peculiar individuality that distinguishes them from their peers. They are not concerned with being like everyone else. God, in His wisdom, crafted me according to specific specifications.I want to be a good me. I want to be 'like a child.'

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