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Children Make Me Happy!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, April 28, 2014

Jesus and children drawing

Children Make Me Happy!

Yes, children have the potential of making me happy. Simple, straight-forward, open, friendly, trusting. All these things about children refresh me. Energize me. There is a preschool at the church where I have my new job. When I see them in the halls or in other places around the church, I often feel happy inside. They are almost like an automatic smile maker.

I loved having small children, myself. I loved being able to slow down to a child’s pace, to look at the world through their eyes. To gaze with wonder at a huge snowflake landing on the woolen arm of a winter coat, or a spider making its orb web in the backyard, or an ant hurrying on its way with a crumb twice its size on its back. All of these make me pause and reflect. If it weren’t for children, how often would I slow down and look at the little things of life? I mean, the tiny details, the unexpectedly surprising discoveries of everyday experience?

And to sing and make music with children? Singing silly songs, doing all the hand motions, getting up and marching around the classroom, or doing the hokey-pokey? (That’s what it’s all about, you know!) No wonder there is so much laughter and merriment coming from preschools all over!

God compares us to small children, in the Hebrew Scriptures. Or rather, God compares the nation of Israel to a small child. (And by scriptural and hermeneutical understanding, we—today—can also compare ourselves to small children, too. But I digress from my biblical example.) In chapter 11 of Hosea, the prophet talks of God picking up the nation of Israel like a small child and cuddling the small child/nation of Israel to God’s chest/breast. This is such a maternal image! Sometimes, especially when I am feeling small and lost and alone, I am comforted to no end to be reminded of such a tender word picture. Imagine, God doing that to me! (And God will cuddle you, too. If you need it. Or want it.)

Now, I have no problem seeing God as my Loving, Heavenly Parent. Sure, I did have parental issues in my past. I mean, issues with my earthly parents. But through years of prayer, meditation, spiritual direction and counseling, I’ve come to terms with most of them. Now, this clears the way for a loving, encouraging, caring relationship with my Heavenly Father. (Or if you prefer, God our Mother, as St. Julian of Norwich said several times in her excellent book Revelations of Divine Love.)

So, how was I kind today? I shared smiles and hellos with some preschoolers today, and they shared right back! Talk about a mutual smile maker! God, thank You for children, especially the children of Kids Academy. And the preschool teachers, too, who give so willingly and tenderly of themselves to these little ones, each day. Thanks, God!

@chaplaineliza

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