Being with our grandchildren is one of the things I enjoy most. Seeing the world through a child’s eyes sets so many things straight. Learning to walk, fascination over a butterfly, first day of school – every day is wonderful in some way.

The tiredness and busyness of life lead most of us to forget much of what we knew as children. Here are some things children know that we can learn again:

  1. Joy comes from small things. It’s not expensive entertainment, fancy material things, or the whole world liking you that makes you happy. Joy comes from simple things: noticing dew on a spider web, the feeling of sand between your toes, hearing the echo of your voice across a valley, or a good stretch in the morning.
  2. Learning is fun. Have you noticed the wonder in a child’s eyes? Learning new things about the world, stretching your mind and body to do something new, relishing in the mastery of a new skill or understanding – that never has to stop.
  3. Living in the present is best. You’re likely to miss so much by rushing through life. Tomorrow will be here soon enough. Borrowing from the past or the future is useless. Take time to notice and appreciate today.
  4. Not everyone is safe. Children have an inner sense of who is safe and who isn’t, and naturally honor that internal sense (at least until adults force them to do otherwise). We adults would do well to respect our intuition in the same way, at least until people have proven themselves trustworthy.
  5. It’s OK to take risks and fail. You fall down many times before you learn to walk. Failure is not failure unless you refuse to get up and try again. The only shame is in quitting. There really is no limit if you imagine you can do something and keep at it.
  6. Forgiving is good. The default strategy is to find a way to make up and play together again, whenever possible. Holding a grudge takes effort, and it makes you sad. It’s much better to let it go.
  7. Rest and play are important. Working all the time leaves you miserable and tired. Almost nothing is important enough to lose too much sleep over. Life is too short to rush through and not enjoy all you can along the way.
  8. Trust good people. Children naturally trust their parents and other caregivers, at least until that trust is broken. They trust them to take care of their needs, to love them, to be there. Trusting means you don’t have to worry, and you can sleep well.
  9. Loving is worth it. A hug and a kiss make so many things better. As the 8-yr old girl said, “If you love someone, hurry up and show it!” Let your heart be open; you’ll receive more love than you give. If someone really loves you, you have just about everything you need.

Yes, there are some not-so-good things about children: self-centeredness, inability to delay gratification, being naïve about problems, and the tendency to take everything personally. Those characteristics are very unpleasant in adults. And in a sinful world too much of these good parts of childhood become damaged through trauma.

But as we mature, let’s not lose the good things we knew as children. Jesus encouraged this when He said, “Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:17).

It’s OK to not grow up in some ways!

Your turn: How would your life be different if you respected the “inner child” part of you? How would your relationship with God be impacted? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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