In life we learn about God and hear His wisdom in so many simple ways. The Bible says that the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are childlike (Mark 10:14). Initially, we may think this only refers to a child’s innocence, but I believe there’s more to it.
If we pay attention to the interaction our children have with the world and other people, we can get a better understanding of what the scripture is telling us.
What Are 4 Big Lessons We Can Learn from our Little People?
1. Keep your sense of wonder.
Have you noticed that when you take your kids anywhere, the route from your car to the destination is never a straight shot? Kids like to jump over puddles, run up curbs, grab sticks along the way, everything is an adventure.
How wonderful it must be to see the world this way. We grab their hand and warn them about cars and tell them to be careful. We try to be patient. But, they explore without the worry of possible danger or harm.
How many of us have anxiety that hinders us from trying new things? How many of us find a false sense of comfort from complacency? Somewhere in our development, we learn fear and we forget that our Father will protect and guide us.
Kids ask so many questions and they have such a pure sense of curiosity – unlike many of us who live according to our assumptions and experiences in life. My therapist told me that we all, to some degree, have cognitive distortions. These distortions affect the way we think, act, and process information. We need to remember that we don’t know everything. The Bible says in James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach.”
2. Be present.
I don’t know about you, Team, but I have to constantly remind myself to stay present in the moment – but kids do this effortlessly. They don’t overthink what’s going to happen next week or next year. We are always planning and scheduling and organizing, trying to get everything done. There isn’t anything wrong with preparation, but we need to balance this with the understanding that life is more fulfilling when we’re present.
I remember once, I took my daughter out on a Saturday morning for breakfast and an arcade/game place. We had a busy day, but it was a lot of fun. When we got home, she asked “Okay mommy, what’s next?” I was so frustrated! I felt as if she was being ungrateful and that she didn’t appreciate the great time we’d already had for the day. God revealed to me that it wasn’t that she was being ungrateful at all but that she lives in the moment. When you’re in the moment you’re not thinking about what you’ve already done. How productive could we be every day if we stay present?
3. Forgive quickly.
Adults often have trouble letting things go. We tend to let moments of hurt and pain haunt us forever. It’s okay to learn from your experiences but not to the point of being bitter or jaded.
When my daughter does or says something wrong, it can be frustrating. I think it’s because I know she has been taught better so, I discipline her, but I don’t like to. Afterward, I am left asking myself why she would do something like that, and I even feel guilty at times for having to punish her. While I am in my own world stewing, my daughter bounces in the room asking for a snack or some random question, just as happy as she can be. It amazes me that she’s able to let go so easily.
The Bible says do not let the sun go down on your anger (Ephesians 4:26). It’s not always easy, but I figured out a trick that helps. I was really upset with someone one day and I had good reason. I repeated this scripture to myself and I thought about all the things that God has forgiven me for. I promise that within an instant, my heart softened, and I wasn’t even thinking about the problem anymore.
Try thinking about how God has forgiven you the next time you’re having trouble forgiving someone else.
4. Be honest.
People often joke about the blunt honesty of children, but I think our relationships would improve if we would adopt this trait. Honesty opens the door for genuine and authentic communication, and potentially shorten the learning curve. Too many of us mistake honesty with disrespect or offense, but when done gently, can lead to growth and accountability.
There was a time when my daughter was with her grandmother, who spoils her to no end. Well, this day in particular, my daughter kept asking for cookies and juice. All day long she was snacking until she ended up sick and threw up. Her grandmother came into the bathroom where my poor baby was huddled around the toilet and said well that’s because you had too many snacks. Without hesitation, my daughter looked up at her and said, “well you’re the grownup!”
Even at six years old, she knew that she should not have had autonomy. Her grandmother was supposed to protect her from bad decisions made in youthful ignorance. This was eye-opening for my daughter’s grandmother and when she told me the story, she had to face the fact that my daughter was right. There was a revelation that giving the kids what they want all the time has consequences and she felt really bad about it.
So, What’s the Play Call?
Mark 10:15 says, “Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a child will not enter it.” We have a lot to learn from our little ones, pay attention.
Matthew 18:3 says, “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will not enter the kingdom of God.”
Remember to never lose your sense of wonder, stay present, forgive quickly, and be honest.