October 26, 2016
Children look forward to being an adult. “When I grow up, I want to be a fireman” – or doctor, or teacher or president. Little girls dress up in women’s clothes and clop around in high-heeled shoes three times the size of their feet. Boys “drive” toy trucks and fire engines like they are on the freeway. Older siblings play “teacher” to younger ones. Girls treat their dolls like live babies, while boys talk about their future as a sports hero.
The reality of being an adult comes all too quickly. Babies cry and keep us up all night. Career goals turn into hours of study, education loans and sometimes disappointment. Play becomes hard work that requires discipline and determination. We might wonder why our desire to be an adult was so strong.
I have been pondering two aspects of the joy of being a child. It is important to let children enjoy those years as much as possible. We should encourage their creativity, affirm their dreams, commend their efforts and engage in their pretend adventures.
Far too many children are being rushed through childhood. We wake them up early so they can spend their hours at daycare while we pursue our dreams. We rush them through dinner so we can watch our favorite TV program. We sometimes fail to realize the excitement they feel when we enjoy watching them pretend to be adults. Children need to have time to be just that – children.
The other aspect involves the loss of being a child at heart when we become adults. Part of our childhood perspective needs to remain as we move through our adult journey. Children take risks, while adults can become overly cautious. Children experience loss, but they do not give up – like taking two steps, falling and then being ready to try again. Failure does not stop them.
Children like to laugh when they are allowed to do so. They quickly get over issues with other children – especially when encouraged by an adult. They see beauty in being creative – it may not bother them to color outside the lines. In adult life, we call this “thinking outside the box.” When we adults lose these qualities, we may miss the joy of doing life.
Pastor Bill Ehmann