“. . . unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3
It has been well said that if the young could be old for just a day, they would neither fear so much growing old, nor foolishly squander the days of their youth. As one with a lot of years under my belt, I get this. If only I had heeded such wise counsel in my younger days. And, oh, how I long to pass it along to my five beautiful young granddaughters. If only they would listen. But then, who among us ever has?
Thankfully, my grandchildren are being raised in good homes by loving parents devoted to their nurturance, encouragement, growth, development, and general well-being. As a result, they are happy children surrounded by family – both immediate and extended – living in nice neighborhoods, attending quality schools where they have a multitude of friends. And on the occasion when they do skin a knee or get their feelings hurt, mom and dad are there to comfort and console.
As their grandfather, how I wish they could remain in that protective cocoon, and if I had the power I would see to it they live that way forever. But as we all know, sooner or later life will smack them in the face, at least at some level. Either it will catch them by surprise, or they will bring it on themselves. Most likely, a little of both. Eventually, they must discover that mom’s and dad’s pockets are not ATM machines, that not all people are nice, that life sometimes serves up aches and pains, broken hearts and broken bones, disappointments and hurt feelings, and mom and dad are not always there to comfort and console. I pray often that it may never happen with my precious little girls, but inevitably it will, as it has with all of us.
If only they could be old for just one day, how much better prepared they would be when the day comes that life smacks them in the face. On the other hand, maybe that’s all backwards. Perhaps it might be better said that if the old – like me – could be young again for just one day, to experience their innocence, we might not be so inclined to squander our time worrying about the future – theirs and ours. For, “. . . unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” If that is true, then it is the young and innocent who have had it right all along.