Credit: Free photos from acobox.com
I woke up singing “Skip to My Lou” this morning. Only God knows why! I haven’t skipped in a long time, and that got me starting thinking about skipping, jumping rope, hopscotch, jacks, and marbles. (Oh, by the way, if you click on the “Skip to My Lou” link under the photo, you can listen to this old children’s song and see some kids actually doing it!)
Anyway, a lot of folks have nostalgic memories of their childhoods. It could be that you have some, too. Maybe you remember fishing with Dad while Mom read a book. Perhaps you recall having Mom and Dad come watch you play a not-so starring role in a school play. Decorating the Christmas tree, hardboiling the eggs for Easter, going trick or treating as your favorite character, or playing basketball in a vacant lot might be some of your favorite childhood memories.
On the other hand, some children have no happy memories, because they came from abusive homes or maybe had alcoholics or drug-addicts for parents.
Regardless of what type of upbringing and memories you have, I think that is why Jesus said (in Matthew 19:14), “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
There’s an amazing thing about children — they believe without questioning. It isn’t until we get older that we start questioning whether there really is a God, how a belief in God clashes with that of evolution, etc. (Truth is – many scientists believe in both God and evolution, but a lot of people don’t know that.) Little children trust that what you say is true. They believe in God unconditionally if you tell them about your God.
And as we get older, most of us forget how to play. If we play cards we have to have a beer in our hands. If we play basketball, it’s not just for the fun of it; it’s for the competitiveness of the sport. If we go fishing, it can often turn into a hassle because everything has to be perfect, and we take so much gear that it’s hard to really enjoy the day.
If our kids want to play with us, do we? Do we get down on our knees and compete with them on a video game, or do we sit down at the table and teach them better spelling by playing Scrabble? If we want the children to go outside, do we throw the ball with a spirit of fun or do we get frustrated at them because they didn’t catch it?
And when it comes to God, what do we say to them? Do we even talk about God and our relationship with this amazing higher power? Or do we just take them to church and hope they’ll absorb it? Or do we just not go to church, thinking that it really doesn’t matter anyway?
I remember teaching my beloved grandson how to jump in a puddle after the rain. His mom, my darling daughter, was none too pleased with the wet pants, but he and I had a great time that afternoon.
Are you more intent on making sure your children grow up to be responsible adults than you are on allowing them to be children and participating in that time of innocence?
Maybe tomorrow you’ll buy a jump rope and use it with your children if they’re small. If they’re not, maybe you’ll pull out Trivial Pursuit or checkers and have some old-fashioned fun. And maybe when you do either of those things, you’ll wind up talking about God and how important your relationship with Him is.
Have a blessed day!