Through the Eyes of a Child
I have heard the phrase “the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are childlike” many times, and I assumed it was talking about a child’s innocence, but I think there is more to it than that. Children are wonderful teachers, whether it is invoking the no-mercy rule during a pillow fight, going on a bug rescue mission or using their imagination to turn stuffed animals into “lepers” to find out how Jesus treated outcasts, they have a way of showing us how to live a compassionate life. When we take the time to observe the way children interact with others and the world around them, we can learn valuable lessons that can guide us on our own spiritual journey.
Children teach us to give without expecting anything in return. The Persian poet Hafiz said it perfectly, “Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, ‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.” When we observe how children love and care for others, we can see their love is not based on what someone looks like, how much money they have or what they can do for them.
A child’s sense of friendship can be as simple as “you want to play?” They only see the potential for a new friend. Children love because they see the inherent value in every human being. This is the type of love that Christ teaches us to have, and it is a powerful force that can transform our relationships with others.
In a matter of minutes, a child can go from screaming because their playmate just took their toy to happily playing together again. When a child is hurt or wronged by someone, they may feel angry or upset, but they also can forgive and move on quickly. They do not hold grudges or dwell on past mistakes. Instead, they choose to focus on the present moment and the joy that can be found in it. This is a valuable lesson for all of us as we learn to let go of past hurts and live in the present moment, free from bitterness and resentment.
Children are generous, and they often give without expecting anything in return. Whether it is sharing toys with a friend, offering a hug to someone who is sad or giving their own money and toys to a charity, children are constantly finding ways to give to others. This kind of generosity is something that we can all learn from as we strive to be more giving and selfless in our own lives.
If a child sees another child crying, they quickly become genuinely concerned. They have an innate ability to understand and feel the emotions of others, and they often go out of their way to offer comfort and support to those who are hurting. They are quick to offer a hug or a kind word to someone who is sad, and they are always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. This kind of empathy is something that we can all cultivate in our own lives, as we strive to better understand and connect with those around us.
Have you ever seen the way a child’s eyes light up when they see a fire truck passing by or a puddle just right for jumping in? Or how about sprinkles on their ice cream? They find joy in the simplest things, whether it is playing outside, spending time with loved ones or simply experiencing the wonder of the world around them. They approach life with a sense of curiosity and awe, and they are always seeking out new experiences and adventures. As we seek to live a compassionate life, we must also learn to find joy in the present moment and to appreciate the beauty and wonder of the world around us.
The Bible tells us, “The Kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are like these children.” Matthew 19:14 (ICB). At the core of every child is an innocence of humanity that should be an example to all of us. They are some of the best teachers when it comes to living a compassionate life that is centered around Christ’s teachings. They offer us a valuable example of what it means to live a life guided by compassion and kindness. As we strive to become more compassionate Christians, we must also learn to cultivate these same qualities in our own lives and to look to the example of children as we seek to live a life that is pleasing to God.
By Kathy Clifford
Children’s Ministries Director