Sometimes I get so caught up being an adult, I forget how smart my children are. I'm not saying their geniuses. I'm talking about spiritually smart. They have an innocence and simplicity about them, they view the world with unblemished eyes and see what we sometimes don't.
The Lord taught his disciples, in Matthew 18:3, that the greatest of all in the kingdom of heaven was a little child. In the next verse he explains to us how having the humility of a little child makes one great.
Humility. Not humiliate. Sometimes we may catch ourselves talking down to our children, perhaps even humiliating them. What we don't see is the simplicity of the Lord's message for us. We are all learning, let's not get so caught up being grownup that we don't listen to our little ones. You'd be surprised what they have to say.
Children are truthful. Listen to their honesty
My 5-year-old is beyond precocious. Some of the things he blurts out have me rolling on the floor, others have me 50 shades of red.
For example, when he was 3, we had this conversation:
"Mom, why is your belly so big?"
Me: We've been over this honey, I'm going to have a baby soon. My belly gets big to grow the baby."
"Oh." Looking very contemplative, "Then what are you growing in your butt?"
Yes. Fifty shades of red. In his innocence, he pointed out the obvious.
Children have a habit of telling the truth, and this can be good for us to hear. It can also give us the opportunity to talk to them about tact. They have no shame. Listen to your children when they give well-meaning truths, it may be advice you need to hear. What are some truths your children tell? They may include:
Mom, if I can't watch that, why are you?
Why don't you listen to me, Dad?
Kids are courageous. We can be, too
For example, my 5-year-old walked in after a playdate with the neighbors.
"How did it go?" I inquired.
"Good!" He proudly said, "I invited them to church on Sunday."
"Really?" I asked,
"Yep," he replied, "They said that sounds good, maybe they'll come sometime."
This simple question had almost left my lips many times in conversation with my neighbors, but for some reason I always chickened out. My 5-year-old had just shown me that courage wasn't something to work up to, it was the ability to just get it done.
What has your child been brave about recently? What can you learn from that? Is there something you're working up the courage to do? Maybe you need courage to start something you know needs to happen? Listen to your children's courage and use that example to grow.
Children are sensitive. We need increased sensitivity, as well
Our children also have a way of showing us just how insensitive we have become over the years. One of my favorite quotes is by Margaret D. Nadauld:
"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity."
I love this quote, and read it often to remind me of who I need to be. The world wants me to be tough, a tiger mom, or popular instead of pure. But my 5-year-old will always be my example.
Earlier this year, I was watching "Finding Nemo" with him. When the mother dies in the beginning, he asked what happened. I told him the mother was eaten by the shark. He then looked up at me with teary eyes and said, "That is so sad." Suddenly I was overcome with sadness for him. His sensitive little soul is such a huge example to me. I sometimes become desensitized from the media, my children keep me in check.
is so important in today's world. We are inundated with messages and media. Make sure you take a moment to review what you are taking in. As the old adage goes: Garbage in, garbage out. If we want to be sensitive to other's needs we need to be sensitive, ourselves.
I have been told by many parents, educators, and doctors to expose my children to different media and language in the home. Through watching my children, and listening to the Lord in Matthew 5:18, I understand now that this is false.
Our job is to protect our children's innocence
, to teach them about virtue and love, to show them tenderness and support. So when the world comes crashing in on their protected little bubble they put up walls against the evils and only let the good come in. Help them remain sensitive to the temptations of the world and sensitive to the whisperings of the spirit, so they can feel when something is wrong.
What have you learned from your children? Listen to what they are telling you, listen to their honesty and learn from their example. Become humble with their encouragement. When you look at your children this year, make it a goal to really watch them and be humble enough to adopt their traits.