As parents, aunts, uncles, coaches, teachers, siblings, neighbors, how often do we find ourselves speaking of children like so: “When Bobby grows up, he is going to be such a catch” or “When Jane get’s married, she is going to be an awesome mom”, or maybe, “When those kids graduate, they are going to be the great leaders of tomorrow”.
While it is a great thing to see the potential of the future generation, and to hope for their great accomplishments and positive change when they grown up, why is it so easy for us to look upon childhood as a phase in life that is just something to be endured, as something to quickly pass through before we can realize our potential value as adults? Unbeknownst to our consciousness, this mindset believes that we are a people only capable of great faith and value to the kingdom until later in life.
Interestingly enough and against our common logic, Scripture places value on children, the little ones that stand before us here and now. Jesus rebuked his disciples when they tried to keep the children from Him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16). In Psalm 127:3, Solomon reminds us that, “Children are a heritage from the Lord”. Can you imagine the profound blessing of knowing Jesus for a lifetime?
When we look at our own children (or our nieces, nephews, students, neighbors, etc), can you see their hearts right now? Can you describe their passions, spiritual giftings, weaknesses, etc.?
Here is a part of a journal entry I wrote to my girls when Sophia was 2 ½ and Olivia was almost one.
May 8, 2010
You are sweet and strong. You take time to listen and act carefully—you take notice of others and their feelings. Your heart is full of joy and compassion. Thank you for loving me so sweetly.
You are full of joy and wonder. You light up at the sight of a smile, you hold us tightly, you giggle often. I believe that God has allowed you to see others in love; He has blessed you with His vision to see into the heart of people. You find goodness. You are quick to act and have no inhibitions!
Know that I love you both so very deeply, and that I will always desire God’s best for you. In all of my shortcomings as your mom, I hope that one day you will be able to say and truly believe that I was a woman who was after God’s heart.
Remember the time when your eyes were full of wonder, head full of imagination, heart full of passions and God-given talents, soul bursting to be seen and heard. Although time, circumstance, and experience have brought us this far, in many ways we are still that same little one.
What does it look like to see children as people that matter right now?
Photo credit: R Mercardo