Wisdom of Children
“The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6
There are so many stories in the Bible about the wisdom and leadership of children and young people. A young boy leads Saul to Samuel. (1 Samuel 9) Baby Moses’ sister Miriam keeps watch over him until he is found by Pharaoh’s daughter and suggests a “nurse” for him. (Exodus 2:1-10) A captured Israelite young girl tells Naaman’s wife about Elisha who can cure his leprosy. (2 Kings 5) In the gospel of John, Andrew brings a young boy with five barley loaves and two small fish to Jesus to feed 5000 thousand people. (John 6:1-14) I know there are more stories. Help me remember them.
As a physician for children and a grandmother, this has become so evident to me daily. Children teach me about joy. They teach me about awareness. They teach me about living in the moment. Their connection to the sacred seems to be on a shorter string than mine. As a parent, I was so worried about raising my children “right” that I often missed their wisdom as they were growing up. I do remember one time I listened to my young daughter and stopped my busy work to go outside to see the rainbows in our lawn sprinkler when she came running in to tell me about all the rainbows outside. My grandchildren are growing up too fast. I do not want to miss a second I might have with them. I also loved being a part of the Cathedral School when I was at Trinity Cathedral. I am now assigned as a deacon to St. Mark’s where there is a Day School. I as well love every opportunity to spend time with these preschoolers. I love the way they fold their tiny hands and kneel to pray in chapel. Sometimes their heads are bowed. Sometimes they look up with wonder about what this new adventure is all about. They teach me more each day about God and God’s love than most of the books on my bookshelf as they share their connection to God.
So, when people come for spiritual direction, I always suggest spending time with children especially one on one to learn more about God’s love. Barbara Brown Taylor suggests getting down on the floor with them. I can no longer do that, but I can still sit and listen to their stories and share meals with them and throw kisses and give hugs, and watch movies with them, and remind them every time I see them that I love them.
Let me know your experience.