Children are clever, so let’s learn from them

Children typically exhibit an unconditional acceptance.

Children typically exhibit an unconditional acceptance.

I’m a little suspicious of anyone who doesn’t like children. Frankly, I enjoy them and believe that we can learn much from them. Children are so clever!

Studies show that from birth to age 3 they have the incredible capacity of learning two or more languages simultaneously, as they concurrently acquire and assimilate essential life skills.

They exhibit a degree of practical genius in their simplicity and straightforwardness. A little girl came home from school and asked her parents if the moon was really made of cheese. They told her that she should try to discover the answer for herself. They suggested that she research some of the books in their family library.

A week later she emphatically announced to her parents that the moon was not made of cheese. When they asked her how she knew this, she said, “The Bible says so!” In her reading, she’d discovered that the moon was created on the 4th day of creation and cows were created on the 6th day of creation. Since cheese comes from cows, the moon could not have been made of cheese!

The fear that we experience as adults is largely acquired; generally, it doesn’t seem to be intrinsic to the little ones. We have to tell them, “Don’t talk to strangers!” In their uncomplicated thinking they must wonder, “How will I ever be able to make new friends if I don’t speak to new people?”

Youngsters have an insatiable curiosity and experience unlimited wonder at each discovery that they make. The way they view things results in dismay being commonplace. As adults most things have simply become commonplace.

A child will typically exhibit a sort of unconditional acceptance. Many times when I make eye contact with a little person and smile, they will smile back and often wave. And this is wonderfully contagious, for as soon as the parents see their child engaging me in this fashion, they too begin smiling at me (though seconds before they may have been tight-lipped with furrowed brow).

Children are not afraid to have fun, act out and are simply childish – they are children after all. They are living proof that maturity and seriousness may be both overrated and over practiced!

It should come as no surprise then, that when the disciples tried to send the children away Jesus said, “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).

Jesus taught that the spiritual openness of children is the template for kingdom entrance; and in His new kingdom, “…a child will lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).

“From the cradle to the grave, I wish we’d all behave more like children…” Johnny Cash

Pastor Ross Helgeton is the senior pastor of Erskine Evangelical Free Church.

FAITH & REFLECTION