The teaching of little children
In recent Sunday Gospels, Jesus encourages his disciples to become like little children if they want to enter the kingdom of God. How are we to take this up? As parents, teachers and guardians, we know well enough the challenges of encouraging our children out of their childish ways. Some scripture experts state that in Jesus’ time, children were the powerless and without rights and that when Jesus encourages us to be childlike, he is calling us to be humble. But there is more to that, surely? In the situations where Jesus calls us to be childlike, he shows a deep affection and delight in children – something we often experience.
All of us cherish the times when our children charm our hearts and open us up to the mystery and glory of life. Their questions give us a fresh perspective. Their trustfulness melts our hearts to tender care. Their sense of joy renews our delight in life. As an aunt of many nieces and nephews I could fill many pages with cute stories that would delight me and probably bore you….because you have your own stories of your own children. These are important! God wants you to dwell on them and learn from them. The qualities that delight you are the very qualities that God would delight in finding in you.
Our challenge is to relearn the mystery and magic of being childlike. We can do this by remembering our own experiences with children and then imagine how we could translate that into our behaviour as adults. Then we will discover that we have grown up into the kingdom of God.
Loving God, give me the wisdom to learn how to be childlike from my children. May their lives lead me into the fullness of your life. I ask this in Jesus’ name confident that you will hear me.
Sr Kym Harris osb