(This is a repost from December 27, 2015)
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'” Matthew 19:14 NIV
I don’t believe there’s anything more humbling than a child.
I have debated with people from all walks of life and from both coasts of the United States, but nowhere have I found true adversarial conversation than when it comes time to ‘discuss’ things with my children. Even the toddler, whose conversation ability is more often gibberish than anything, is capable of establishing a humbling wall of resistance that makes the barriers surrounding Mordor seem like tissue paper by comparison.
Example: My daughter. She is a beautiful, brave, intelligent 11-year-old girl who is always at the ready with a defiant word and would rather go down with the Titanic than admit she is wrong. We have the usual discussions about respecting your elders, proper hygiene, and dress and not sharing foul odors in the car when the heater is on and its too cold to roll down the windows.
That last conversation happens far more often than I would like.
However, let the word “homework” be brought up, especially if it is connected to a phrase like “It’s time to do your…” and you would think my charming little girl had been replaced with one strategically-placed weapon of syllogistic destruction. Rail like a banshee or speak words of kindness and encouragement all you want, not a single piece of homework gets done without a retaliatory argument of defiance and (unreasonable) logic that would have given Custer the upper hand at Little BigHorn.
And you know what? We can debate “to do or not to do” for hours, sit with her as every question takes five times longer to answer as it should, and walk away from the table feeling like we’ve just had a double colonoscopy given by a doctor with no recognizable depth perception. She storms off to her bedroom (or Tokyo, by the sounds of it) for ten minutes and comes back as if nothing whatsoever had taken place. She curls up next to one of us or sits down to chat as lovingly and friendly as she can be – as if we didn’t just spend our evening using a pair of tweezers to pull the teeth one-by-one from an angry Great White shark.
God Love her, and so do I.
I see why the kingdom of heaven belongs to the children. Only God could create our own bundle of cooing, crying cryptonite. We, the adults “in charge” of these precious wonders, probably put more effort into serving our children than we ever do anyone else in the world. Strong as we may think we are, it is through our children that we can see the truth of who we really are and who we should be striving to be. Through them, we can know our greatest anguish, our most intense longing, and some of the most wonderful and amazing moments of joy. We’re run ragged for their pleasure, only to be told “I’m bored!” the day after they receive their Christmas day cache. And yet, as she climbs into bed and prays that God will help me with MY issues, I’m forced to smile and Love her even more.
Because my “issues” definitely need help, and God loves the prayers of His children.
There might just be hope for us all so long as our children are in charge.
But I’m not about to tell her that!