I Believe in Children
Walking through DFW airport I look at each person that passes and, if they look back, I smile. It seems to take no time to move from one gate or terminal to another, and many return smiles appear out of that humdrum rat race. Especially from children, who are usually much more alert than the adults accompanying them, and often smile back.
About two years ago, a three year old boy even dropped his mother’s hand and, looking me right in the eyes, ran the twenty feet between us. I lifted him high over my head, then held him in my arms as his startled mother rushed over. All during his run, I felt the intensity of his feelings. He was simply full of joy.
I feel that children contain so much happiness within, it overflows into laughter at any opportunity. The Bible relates that Jesus elicited these feelings as he held and blessed his little ones, teaching that each child has an angel who is face to face with God, the fountain of love.
My wife and I taught Sunday school to four year olds for several years. I learned that children tell absolute truth. They would pat my bald head once they got to know me, wondering what happened to the hair that should have been there. Bobbie even made an orange play dough wig for me.
One of our most memorable students was Sam. A month before coming to our first fall class his infant sister died from SIDS.
Sam would not play with dolls, would not be hugged (like a baby), and, despite his brightness, rarely smiled. He worried us and his parents very much.
Just before Christmas, some friends who had a new baby, Samantha, stopped by the class. By this time Sam was much more comfortable with us and was beginning to spend more time playing. But as Samantha was brought into the room, Sam headed for a corner. Soon all the other children were gathered around, curious about the baby. Finally Sam came closer. We encouraged him and told him the baby’s name, Sam, was the same as his. Before long, he was sitting in a rocking chair holding Samantha and beaming with love.
Two years later Sam’s parents decided he should be baptized in the church. “But why do I need to be?” Sam protested. His Mom explained that the church family would help him learn about God. Sam immediately responded that he already knew all about God, and to his Mother’s surprise, told her:
“God has all the power. He gives you some when you need it. And he teaches you how to love.”
Back when I was coming along, I had many families. In the absence of a nearby parent, all or my adult relatives, teachers, neighbors and even strangers were surrogates. Each could be relied on to help if I fell from a bike or to scold me if I did something bad, especially if it was dangerous to me.
When I look around Dallas, our nation and the world, I am shocked to find some children abused, abducted, ignored or, at the other end of the spectrum, accelerated toward adulthood.
I cannot take our children back to the neighborhood of my youth. But I do believe that each and every child is a precious gift who warrants my complete attention, respect, and love.
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