Sunday, October 12, 2014


At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus; saying, who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto Him and set him in the midst of them. Verily I say unto you, except you become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Whosoever then shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 18: 2-4)

Since the Savior declared it to be so, it must be so that the humility we see in children is a quality we should strive to emulate. Many have equated this quality with our ability to be teachable. Likewise, there is little doubt that if we are not teachable we will fall far short of living the Lord’s teachings.

During my mortal sojourn, other insights have been brought to my consciousness of how the lives of children can light the way in which we should travel if we are to draw closer to emulating the life of ‘The Child.’ Wouldn't it be interesting if one day we find out that it was indeed Jesus the Christ who we were being admonished to become as? After all, did he not have to humble Himself below all in order to learn all His Father had sent him to learn?

Before I drift too far afield from my original thought, let me return to little children in general and the additional qualities we should be seeing in their examples and how we might go about acquiring them.

I believe it was just after our family had returned from visiting some relatives whom we had not seen for several years. During our visits to their home, their youngest daughter, just having celebrated her second birthday, frequently found herself on my knee. Though the vocabulary we used was elementary our conversations were enjoyable and my being was filled with warmth and tenderness. As we were standing in the doorway saying our goodbyes, I felt her little arms encircle my leg in a tender hug. Her father standing nearby took her in his arms and while touching her face said, “I’m really going to have to watch you; you really warm up to people too quickly.”

We all understand the concern behind this caring fathers comment for the safety of his daughter, but isn't it also a rather sad comment on our society that in order for our children to survive we must teach them to replace their natural propensity to trust with mistrust, their natural friendly tendencies are replaced by cautiousness and neighbors must be treated as strangers. Wouldn't it be wonderful if parent and child’s roles were reversed and adults would learn to trust more, be friendlier and treat strangers like neighbors, as they see their offspring do so naturally?

Another event took place on a golf course in small mountain town. At that time the community was supported by retired people who had come to live there to find peace in their final phase of life. As I annually returned there over the years it was becoming more and more obvious that so many people had come to find peace in that mountain retreat that it was no longer to be found.

Anyway, there I go wandering off in my thoughts again. There was one year early on, before the dooming migration, when I was making this pilgrimage with my companions, that we wondered aloud what made this particular annual excursion so special. The following differences from our daily walks were noted. The people were open to strangers. There was a palatable absence of competiveness. There was an evident feeling that harmonious relationships were more important than the gathering of a greater pile of material goods. It seemed as if all we met in the community had returned to their primeval state of childhood and as we greeted them they made us feel encircled with the same loving tenderness which I had enjoyed with my small two-year-old niece. They had come full circle and had cast off the telestial inhibitions which we so often acquire as a shield against unknown fears.

The last insight of how children or ‘The Child’ can be our teacher came when I was watching the movie E. T. with my own children for the first time. As we watched Elliot and E. T. grow from frightened strangers to having a mutual admiration and gaining a bonding spirit which would show its fulfillment when Elliot tries to help E. T. return home, through my mind came the thought, ‘were it only so with all of us.’ As we watched the people of the world who had not bonded with E. T. react to the discovery of an alien being, we realized that the ‘sad’ norm was one of acting toward one another with suspicion, exploitation and greed. The one sensitive scientist said it best, as he bent near the young earthling who was suffering as his extra-terrestrial friend was passing away, ‘I’m glad you found him first.’ The rest of his thought was unspoken, but understood: ‘rather than the mature adults of society.’

I think we should all be paying attention to the little children and ‘The Child,’ and all who emulate them, so that we can learn those lessons which are of most importance in life.

Then were there brought unto Him little children, that he should put His hands on them, and pray; and the disciples rebuked them; but Jesus said, suffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 19: 13-14)

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