Somewhere along the way, we as adults have somehow gotten things way wrong. We hold a certain superiority over children (sometimes rightfully so). We are older, wiser (maybe), and more experienced - true; but, I think there are a TON of ways they get things right that we are missing big time. They see the world in such a uniquely beautiful way, that is vastly different than the way we tend to see it. Somewhere in the process of “growing up”, we begin the see the world through more of a skewed lens. Age and experience changes us in many good ways, but with that we lose some of the magical simplicity of the world around us. It makes me sad to think that at some point in time, without me even noticing, the world around me began to lose some of it’s sparkle. Fortunately though, the Lord has given us the beautiful gift of children. They are constant, daily reminders of the sweet, simple things in life that still sparkle. Sometimes, when its quiet and I'm not wrapped up in being a busy, boring grown up, I love to just listen to them and find inspiration in what they see. In these quiet moments of observation, they have taught me valuable lessons and hit me with truths my “grown up” eyes couldn't see.
Let me share with you a few things they’ve taught me-
They dream without boundaries. They aren’t jaded or crushed by a pessimistic world. They simply have dreams larger than life. They aren't afraid of what people think of them or their crazy ideas. They make life fun. I think we could all use a little bit of dreamer in us sometimes.
They are simple. So so simple. Through grown up eyes we put such great expectations on ourselves to make sure they have the very best. We think happiness comes in the form of toys with bells, whistles, lights, and 500 batteries. We think happiness comes in the form of the #1 Black Friday toy everyone is racing for (let's be honest, you broke your neck to buy it and they don’t even know where it is now). But y'all, based on what I know of children from my years as an elementary teacher and as a mother, those things just aren't true. Do you know what makes them truly happy? Walk out in your backyard, grab the first stick you find. You now have a sword, a bow, a cane, a chainsaw, a phone, a guitar, a microphone, a telescope, a digger, etc. They are just simple people. Sometimes I’ve caught myself throwing away something that was literally a piece of trash only to be chased down as if
I were throwing away gold. This is true of children all over the world. I’ll never forget being on a mission trip to Peru and finding myself wrapped up in a very involved game of “store” with some village kids. They were able to look around and behold a splendor of grocery store items when all that my adult eyes could see was trash that needed to be cleaned up. It was such a special sight to behold. I think our lives could be more stress-free if we could learn from them and embrace more simple.
They have zero interest in Pinterest. Seriously, they don’t care about the 37 things you just pinned for their blowout birthday party. I’m not saying anyone is wrong for hiring Cirque Du Soleil for their party, but I am saying if you CAN’T do that, it’s okay. You can literally go to Sams, buy some festive plates, a $20 cookie cake, and they will truly think it is the best day ever! Trust me, I’ve done both types of parties and they were equally happy at both. I’ll tell you who was affected the most - momma. I’ll let you guess which party momma had the most fun (and relaxed) at. This isn’t the case with only birthday parties though, it’s with any holiday in which we feel the pressure to meet / exceed arbitrary standards of motherhood. I’ll never forget this past Valentine’s Day when we were making plans to attend an annual party with some friends. I had been short on time and was so stressed over the amount of DIY Valentine Cards with cute little puns that I had pinned but had zero time to do. So I threw my hands up and caved to the chaotic Valentine’s aisles in Walmart to see what our store bought options were. Of course, my boys were falling out of the buggy reaching for all of the cards that in my mind were “tacky or just not cute enough”. But I couldn’t help but notice how much more excited they were about Valentine’s Day. This was suddenly the best holiday ever. So I went with it. We couldn't even make it back to the van before we had to stop and open our $1 box of silly looking valentines cards. It’s now July and I STILL come across a card every now and then. They were obsessed.
They aren’t easily inconvenienced. I think as adults we go into everything (big or small) with this expectation of exactly how things should look or how they should go. Our ideas are not always realistic and the second something doesn't meet our expectations, we are so inconvenienced, hurt, or discouraged. Kids are so rarely like that and I love that about them. Once I found myself on a Sunday afternoon trying to leave church by myself, with a 1 year old and newborn. Just that scenario alone should be enough, but it isn't. IT WAS POURING that day. Seriously, biggest rain ever. We finally got all situated in the car and I just remember feeling SO angry. Like “how dare the rain have the audacity to come ruin my day and soak my clothes”. But then, as we’re sitting at a red light, I’m fuming mad and wet, I hear my one year old in the backseat marveling over the amount of water he was seeing outside. He was amazed and thrilled. Sure, he was wet and probably even cold, but that couldn’t ruin him or his beautiful spirit. All he could do was look around and witness the wonder of a good rain. That simple. His outlook helped change mine that day. By the time we pulled back into our driveway, we were laughing hysterically together over how wet we were.
They see equally. I love this about them. To them, people are just people. Black / white, old / young, rich / poor - all are the same in their eyes. This is one of the things it hurts the most to see that we’ve lost along the way. One of the first times my son taught me this was sitting on the floor in our tiny, hot, 1940s house with people lining every bit of wall space and every chair filled. Around the room there were a variety of people. Most from similar places and backgrounds. But to everyone there, we all knew who was different. There were two homeless men in our group. They looked different, they smelled different, they dressed different, they spoke different, and they acted different. Every person in that room knew they were different. Every person, but one - my Jack. He simply saw another human being who made him laugh. It was a scene I’ll treasure forever.
They understand forgiveness better than we do. You'd think by now this would be something we'd have down, but it's just not. So many times we forgive, but forgetting is really hard for us. I am thankful 1000 times over that children are not like this. I’ve faced some struggles over the last couple of years that have made parenting hard. Time after time I was convinced they’d never forgive me, but they do. They forgave me then and they forgive me still. They forget, they move on, and they ask me to play. It’s a beautiful picture of offering genuine forgiveness and continuing to love us in spite of ourselves. That sounds a lot like someone else I know. Someone who loved children and saw the beauty they see.
So yes, they are inexperienced, highly emotional, and sometimes demanding little people...BUT they have HUGE things to teach us if we’ll listen. So take a breath today, put your phone down, close the laptop, stop folding the laundry (you’ll never catch up anyway) and just watch them. Let the Lord use these tiny vessels for big things in your life. Let them show you that the world still sparkles.