Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Lessons from Children

photo by Bill

“Uh-oh. There’s a group of school kids headed our way,” I whispered to my husband Dick as we stood watching the otters at the Brookgreen Gardens zoo. “These critters will hide for sure.”

We savored our last few minutes of quietly watching the otters lazily swimming in the stream  and lounging on the bank. Both seemed completely oblivious to our presence.

We were soon surrounded by about 20 children under age seven, all clamoring to get to as close to the wooden rail as possible. They loudly exclaimed in wonder when they spotted the slick furred animals.

Imagine our surprise when the otters, rather than retreating to their hidden den, started performing! They swam as close to the kids as possible, diving and leaping with abandon. And each time they surfaced, they checked to make sure the children were still watching!

Dick and I just looked at each other in wonder. The otters certainly didn’t react the way we expected. They loved the children!

Later, we meandered down a path indicating barnyard animals ahead. Although it was nearly one o’clock in the afternoon, we could hear the rooster in the chicken enclosure crowing.

“That rooster’s timing is a bit off,” I said with a chuckle. As we got closer we heard several little boys trying their best to imitate the “Cock-a-doodle-do”. The rooster loved it! He was answering the children! Again, it was not the reaction to the children that Dick and I expected.
Dominique Rooster

Later, as we talked about our zoo visit, Dick said, “You know, it reminded me of when the people brought children to Jesus. The disciples thought He wouldn’t want to be bothered and rebuked the ones who brought them. They were surprised when, instead, Jesus welcomed the kids and said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” (Matthew 19:13)

Adults often see children as the ones who need teaching, but Jesus saw them as teachers and examples. In Matthew 18, we read how Jesus called a little child to stand among the people and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself, like this little child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. . . “

Matthew 21 tells us, “The chief priests and scribes were indignant when they saw the wonders [Jesus] did and the children shouting in the temple courts, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’

‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked.

‘Yes!’ Jesus answered, ‘Have you never read the Scripture (Psalm 8:2) that says from the mouths of children and infants You have ordained praise?’”

I admit, there have been times, especially when my children were still at home, when I have dreaded a child’s presence (that of my own children or the children of others), ignored his/her behavior, failed to consider what they were thinking, or dismissed what they said. According to Jesus, by doing so, I have most likely missed out on valuable spiritual and life lessons from God.

Our experience at the Brookgreen Garden Zoo taught me I should express my always appreciation. The children’s exuberant enthusiasm for what they saw actually pleased the animals and prompted them to perform even more. Wouldn’t we get the same reaction from people if we let them know we noticed they did a good job?

What has God taught you through a child?

Be encouraged!

©2018 Pamela D. Williams