However, the older I get, the more I appreciate and value children.
I was reminded of this this past Sunday, as I sat in church behind a young family with a less than one-year-old in front of me—tiny tuft of hair sticking straight up and held in place by a rubber band. Not really a Vogue hairdo, but I guess it could be called cute. Sort of.
But as I looked around, that was the only child I saw. I knew where the others were. In Sunday school or the nursery. And I knew why. They could learn better in a more child-friendly environment and we adults would not be disturbed by crying or chatter or fidgeting during the sermon. All well and good and well intentioned.
But I missed the kids.
When the director of Children’s Ministries called two young girls up to read scripture, I was almost in tears, which is quite something for me. I don’t do tears.
In literature, children represent hope for the future, so you pay attention to what happens to children in a story. Though Macbeth has Banquo murdered in order to assure his claim to the ill-gained throne, Fleance, Banquo’s son, escapes, foreshadowing a not too happy ending for MacBeth.
It is no different in real life, especially the life of the church. We need the children.
We need their energy and innocence. We need their excitement of discovery. We need their tough questions and their simple faith.
The Bible tells us that children are a gift and a blessing, even a reward (Psalm 127:3-5). They are precious. Jesus valued the children, and so should we.
Let us take care of our children in whatever setting we have with them: as parents, aunts and uncles, friends, or church family. Let us teach them, discipline them, direct them, encourage them, listen to them, love them, and raise them in the knowledge and love of God. Our future depends on it.