Jesus is right when he said that unless we become like small children we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. Only a childlike attitude can lead us through life without suffering sweeping setbacks.
The father disciplined his three year old daughter for wasting a roll of gold covering-paper to wrap a present. Money was tight and every cent was precious. Undeterred, next day the child brought the gift to the father, “This is for you, daddy”, she said bashfully. The father was embarrassed at his earlier reaction but again his anger flared up when he opened the box and found it empty! “When you give someone a present, there should be something inside! Never give an empty box as a present…”
The little girl could not figure out why dad was reacting this way. “Daddy, the box is NOT empty! I blew so many kisses into it. All for you, just for you!” The father was mortified. He put his arms around his daughter and gave her a big hug.
“I kept this gold box with me always. Many times, I would open the box and let an imaginary kiss take wings and caress my face.” When it comes to expressions of love, children can be inventive.
How is it that as we become older, we lose the knack of showing our love to others? How many wives crave for some expressions of love from their husband and never get it? How many husbands alienate themselves into so many stupidities because the wife is always busying herself doing things and never has a nice word for him?
When an ice cream sundae did cost much less, a boy entered a coffee chop and sat at a table. The waitress put the standard glass of cold water in front of him and asked what he desired. The boy quietly looked at her and asked how much would an ice cream sundae cost. “Two dollars”, replied abruptly the waitress. The little boy pulled all the coins he had in his pocket and started counting the money he had.
“How much is a dish of plain ice cream?” he again inquired. The waitress was getting impatient. “One dollar fifty cents” she answered irritably. The little boy again counted his coins. “I shall have the plain ice cream,” he said softly.
The waitress brought the ice cream and walked away. The boy finished, paid the cashier and went out. When the waitress came back, she swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly besides the empty dish, there were two quarters – her tip!
The boy sacrificed his sundae for a plain ice cream, because he realized that gratitude is important in life. Where did we lose this kind of sensitivity? Many a life is managed by indifference and coldness. When did you last thank your parents or your children or your Bishop or your pastor or the shop assistant?
We can learn so much from children. Little Jamie had been trying to get a part in a school play for a long time. His mother kept telling him not to set his heart on it because she was afraid that he will not be chosen.
When the parts were given out, little Jamie came out rushing after school, his eyes shining with pride and excitement. “Guess what, mom!” he shouted with obvious glee… “I have been chosen to clap and cheer!” Remarkable simplicity!
A couple of months ago, I received a letter from a mother in which spoke to me about her children. “Naomi entered a poster contest entitled “What I want to be when I grow up” at her school. She split hers in half: drawing a line in the middle and writing a large OR in between – then on one side she painted a mom with babies and on the other side she drew a nun.” The vision!
“Mary Jo never wants to end her prayers – I never thought that our arguments with the children would be not that they do not want to say their prayers but that they do not want to finish them!!” Someone once said, ‘Children have never been very good at listening to adults but they have never failed to imitate them.’
Sarah was born with a muscle missing in her foot and so she had to wear a brace all the time. One day she came home and announced solemnly that she had competed in the sports activities at school and had won two of the races! The parents could hardly believe it! Then Sarah added, “I had an advantage.”
The parents thought that she was given a head start, a physical advantage because of her handicap. But reading their thoughts, she immediately added, “Daddy, I did NOT get a head start… My advantage was that I had to try harder!” Good judgment!
Humor… A little girl had just finished her first week of school. “I’m wasting my time,” she said to her mother. “I can’t read, I can’t write – and they won’t let me talk!”
Tagore was right. Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.