At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:1-4
There are some frightening things happening with immigrant children these days in our country and they are on my mind almost constantly. I am praying for their safety and well being and that they be reunited with their parents. They are innocent children, children of parents who want to give them a better life and take them away from war, persecution, poverty, starvation, even death. Children depend on adults to take care of them and they need to remain bonded with their parents.
Children are often on my mind. I adore children and young people. My career as a teacher brought me such joy and fulfillment. And my own children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, other people's grandchildren, children in church or at the grocery store, children everywhere all are gifts of joy to me. And they are undoubtedly tools of learning for me. They teach me to be better.
Children are full of joy and laughter, spontaneous. I certainly could use more of all of those most days. Children are happy, they strive to have fun. They are resilient; they emote when something happens that does not feel good, and then get over it, move on down the road. My Dad used to encourage his children and grandchildren to "holler their head off" and then be done. They are energetic and active. They are eager to learn and try and grasp new things. They are adventurous. They are wise. My granddaughter, at 3, watched me try to shape too dry cookie dough over and over, and responded. "Grams, this isn't working. Can we try something different?" And we moistened the dough with a little milk, and it worked! A grandchild of my sisters always assertively says, "I think, no thanks!" when he knows he does not want what a parent is offering (maybe a nap, more veggies, to come inside). Children are honest and assertive. They say what they mean.
And they are not at the top of the pecking order, they are instead humble.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please help me to be more child-like, more humble, honest, joyful, playful, resilient. We ask you to guide us to take care of and protect all children, as they are closest to you in nature. May we love and nurture them just as you do all of your children. Thank you for the gift of children. Amen.