That was the case yesterday, when I got to play guitar for a bunch of pre-schoolers, singing their little hearts out at their Spring Program at church. Some of my favorite little dudes hang out at First Presbyterian and when they get together, en-masse, they can pretty-much knock your socks off with cuteness!
The kids are great, but it's also fun to watch the parents watch the children. Especially when it comes to cameras, videos and cell-phone shots. I wonder what percentage of people were watching indirectly, through a lens? Then, depending on the age group on stage, a whole new set of cameras pop up, like periscopes, while the first set comes down.
The children have such fun, and they're so full of themselves. They throw themselves into everything they do without holding back. They haven't learned cynicism yet, or shame, or hypocrisy, or deception. What you see is what you get; who they are is what you see.
I think that's why pre-schoolers are so refreshing. We talk a lot about "maximizing learning", about "standardized educational curriculum", about making sure kids are "being exposed to the real world", and how important it is that they get their Florida state standard ducks in a row...
... But what I think, whenever I have the privilege to spend time with two's, three's and four's, is about what it is that we need to learn from them! I think that their "real world" is pretty cool. And, I think, isn't it a shame that those of us so far removed from childhood have un-learned so much over the years?
Don't worry, I'm not suggesting we back off on the education. But I am suggesting that we take pause once in a while and realize that grown-ups don't have all the answers. Fact is, we often have more questions than answers the older we get, and I honestly believe that this "real world" we have created, and that we're raising these awesome children to live in, could use some serious tweaking about now!
And it's not too late. Jesus told a lot of stories to illustrate what "The Kingdom of God" looks like, and the world Jesus describes is the kind of place I'd be so happy to see this set of pre-schoolers grow up to inhabit. And it's not "pie in the sky when we die". The Kingdom Jesus points to is ours to occupy right now.
It's not too late - DEREK
Jesus called a child over and had the child stand near him. Then he said: I promise you this. If you don't change and become like a child, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. But if you are as humble as this child, you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And when you welcome one of these children because of me, you welcome me. It will be terrible for people who cause even one of my little followers to sin. Those people would be better off thrown into the deepest part of the ocean with a heavy stone tied around their necks! The world is in for trouble because of the way it causes people to sin. (Matthew 18:2-7 CEV)