Whether we liked it or not, we were all children once. And our childhood was incredibly important in forming the people we are today.
The smiles, the good memories, learning the ABCs, the bed time stories, climbing trees, going to the beach, birthday presents, the first day at school, losing teeth, gaining friends, growing up and having crushes and sports practices and school projects.
The fears, the break downs, the mistakes and struggles, loneliness, family issues and losing loved ones, bad grades and detentions, all of the tears and hurts and band-aids.
This thought really hit me just now: children are really important. Just as looking back on childhood can be both sweet and bitter, looking ahead to the children of the future can be a mixture of both hope and uncertainty. I don’t have any children, but lately I have become more and more aware of just how joyful, sobering, and maybe scary it is to raise a kid (or multiple).
In the break room at work, some coworkers were discussing how they did not want to get married for a long time. One guy mentioned he would wait until 50 so that he could get the most out of his life until then. Although we try to hide it, most of us get a glimpse of the weight of our decisions when we think about how they could affect a future spouse or family down the line. And for me, I think I have become a lot more governed by fear than hope recently. I want that to change.
I think currently our world has become increasingly unimpressed and too busy to be focused on children. But they are our future. Just as my generation will be dealing for the next few decades with the issues left to us by our parents, so our children will be dealing with our failures and hang-ups.
Here’s a look at how many children are being born nowadays and where: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Countriesbyfertilityrate.svg
I think that to some extent we are all children who have not fully grown up. We have a difficult time getting over things that we dealt with as children, and we are afraid that our children will have to deal with that same pain.
But remember that beautifully child-ish nature you had when you were younger? The world was brighter and you were more curious, but not in order to prove things wrong but just to discover new things. You were so ready to learn and so hungry for love and attention.
Yes, we were and still are prone to fear and anxiety, but as we grew up we were much more likely to settle with accepting the fears and hiding behind masks to ignore them.
I am grateful to have a hope past this seemingly dim outlook. There is good news for us, and for children both now and in the future. I want to fall more in love with the one who said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them.” (Matthew 19:14)
Apparently God’s kingdom “belongs to such as these.”
Jesus called a little child to him, and placed the child among [his disciples, who were with him]. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. (Matthew 18:2-5)
I really believe this Jesus is our hope. Both for us “children who have not fully grown up”, and the ones who will come after us. God was not afraid to have children and to call us his own. So I don’t want to be afraid to be his child, and to follow his example by taking care of the children he puts in my life.
I hope you’ll join me. Because children are so important.