I sat in my black Volvo. School was about out. I made it through all my email. That doesn’t happen much these days. So I watched the kids play. Much more interesting than scheduling and deleting and responding. I could see their laughter and their smiles. I was a bit jealous.
I know the children’s parents. Some have sat in my office before. So have the parent’s neighbors. The kid’s teachers and coaches have too. I hear stories of disease, dysfunction, despair, depression, dejection, divorce, and death.
Something happens between the playground and the pastor’s office. Life happens. Broken hearts. Broken dreams. Broken promises. Broken bodies.
Jesus tells us to become like children. It makes perfect sense if you think about it.
Less apprehensive and more trusting.
Less complicated and more simple.
Less austere and more filled with awe.
Less resentful and more forgiving.
Here are two things I observe adults can learn from children.
- Remove your mask.
Most children can’t pretend he or she is anything other that what he or she actually is. I could tell from my car who was sad. Who was hurt. Who was happy. Who was lonely. I also observed the sad being comforted, the hurt being healed, the happy being celebrated with, and the lonely being embraced.
But something happened along the way. We were taught to be strong and self-sufficient.
Adults have to ask each other how we are doing and it’s tough to get a straight answer these days. We wear masks and the masks have names. Names like pretty good or okay or alright or fine. Don’t expect anybody to celebrate with you or console you when you wear one of your masks.
Remove the mask. Be vulnerable and real and authentic. You’ll be blessed. So will others.
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
The children are artists and athletes and learners and musicians. Their aim is to experience as much life as possible. They are good with being an average soccer player or a lousy potter or a decent dancer. The creative process is more important than the final product.
But something happened along the way. Somebody told us the lie: “If you can’t do it right then don’t it at all.” Something else happened too. We believed that lie.
We started comparing ourselves to others. We began competing for a better place in the line: near the front by the right people. Instead of exploring and collaborating, we strive for empty and shiny gods like power and success and fortune and security that will never be able to keep the promises they make.
Play again. Look like a fool on the dance floor if you are having fun. Be the worst golfer on the course if it gives you joy. Write a book even if the publishers tell you it’s not good enough. Don’t care what others think. Don’t compare yourself to others. Prepare to keep growing and live better.
I look at these kids—they have it pretty darn good. Jesus says become like them. What innocence has lost grace will restore.