In the ancient world, children were not treated with the value and dignity we typically give our kids today. Children were seen as little more than a nuisance to endure until they got old enough to do something useful to contribute to the family's livelihood. When Jesus came on the scene two thousand years ago, that all changed.
As Jesus taught in public, kids would run up to him and the grownups would rush in to try and pull the kids away, but Jesus always made a point to include and encourage the children. Jesus even went so far as to make the revolutionary claim that adults could actually learn some important lessons from children. Our kids possess some beautiful traits we once possessed, and we were never meant to lose.
I've written pretty extensively about thelessons parents must teach their children, but I also believe that there are lessons parents should learn from children. As I've studied what the Bible teaches about family dynamics, learned lessons from experts in our modern culture and absorbed experience from life with our own four children, I'm convinced that we could learn the following lessons from children better than grownups...
1. Keep asking questions
I read a stat recently that says, on average, kids ask 125 questions per daywhich is more than ten times the amount of questions asked by the average adult. As adults, we're so afraid of looking like we don't know everything that we stop asking (which means we stop learning).
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7
2. Be yourself
Kids aren't worried about looking "impressive." They just want to express themselves and discover who they were created to be. Be real. There's nothing more impressive than authenticity.
"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10
3. Laugh more
Laughter is good medicine. It promotes physical and emotional health, but most adults don't do it enough. Kids laugh more in a day than most adults do in a month. Adults specialize in "Drama," but kids are all about the comedy.
"He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." Job 8:21
4. Don't stress
Kids don't worry and stress the way grownups do. Sure, you could argue, that's because they have grownups taking care of everything, but Jesus taught that God is ultimately taking care of us, so we shouldn't worry either.
5. Don't judge people
All our prejudices are learned. Kids aren't born with any kind of racism, sexism or other -isms that would cause them to treat others differently or judge someone based on appearance. Sadly, they learn their prejudices from us.
"There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28
6. Have pure faith
Childlike faith is one of the hallmarks of Christianity. Jesus wasn't teaching us to abandon our intellects in favor of blind faith, but he was challenging us to approach God as the loving Father He is. Kids trust their parents (even though parents are imperfect). We need to have a childlike faith and trust in the perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful Heavenly Father.
"Jesus called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:2-3
7. Have Fun!
Kids never take themselves too seriously, so they're free to enjoy life with uninhibited joy and wonder. We grownups could stand to lighten up and enjoy life a bit more!
This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.