* To love unreservedly, and forgive readily
These sweet children love through thick and thin, and aren't afraid or ashamed to show their affection whenever it occurs to them. They show no prejudice in their love, and see value in everyone. They are quick to forgive, when an apology is sincere (or even just because).
* To embrace life
Oh, to be a kid again, and get caught up in the current of life, instead of the slough of "responsibility" that burdens us as adults...Children just seem to know how to embrace the joy of life, and to find joy in unexpected places, which is something we adults (wrongly) sacrifice under the pretense of being more--umm--responsible.
|This is "emptying the water out" of Jack's boots, haha.|
* To not be limited by fear
I am amazed, constantly, at how unafraid my kids are! Whether it's making new friends or asking kids we don't know to share a toy or jumping off a high precipice, they face new and challenging situations as if they're exhilarating opportunities. They especially seem to have no concept of fearing what other people think, which is HUGE!
|Jack will jump off anything, even a 7-ft-high jungle gym!|
|Safita's favorite thing is jumping into water, and swimming in water over her head. These guys are fearless!|
* To play & be silly
Sometimes, it's really good for the soul to just goof off and do nothing but paint your hair blue, make silly faces, and laugh about funny noises! I'm convinced that silliness is more than just silliness--it's healing and rejuvenating!
* To approach problems as a game rather than an annoyance
Whenever they're faced with a problem, their first reaction is to find a solution; and if the solution can be a game, all the better.
* To dance, whenever you hear music of any kind
Songs on the radio, cell phone ringtones, advertising jingles...all deserve a peppy little jig! It adds a sparkle of fun to sometimes otherwise dull moments.
* To treat everyone in the world like they are dear friends
This is Safita's forte. Wherever we are, and almost whatever her mood, she will wave and say hi, smile, and blow kisses to everyone we see. She'll interact with strangers like they're a most beloved family member, and just make people feel special and loved. She definitely leaves a trail of people swooning over her adorable friendliness! She definitely convicts me in this regard, because I tend to just mind my own business and avoid people I don't know; but her friendliness seems to strike a (perhaps subconscious) longing in the people we meet from day to day--a longing to be in community, to treat all people like our neighbors, to be love to everyone we see...
|Safita, showing deep affection for cousins we barely ever see (sadly)!|
* To not judge people based on petty things, and to assume the best of people
I think this is just true of kid nature--they haven't learned to judge yet. They make observations about the people and things they see, but don't make value judgments about it. I hope we can encourage them in that, and not teach them otherwise.
* To overlook differences--and even appreciate them!
I love how the cousins on both sides love playing with each other, regardless of huge age gaps. They're all interested in different things and are at different stages in their lives, but somehow, they always find a common ground for appreciating each other and having fun together. It's very sweet. In my own experience, too, when I've opened myself to learn from people different from me, I always learn valuable lessons and am deepened as a person. It seems, God made us different for a reason, and maybe the point of community is to be around all different kinds of people (instead of a handful of people just like us) so that we can use our giftings to strengthen each other.
* That it's okay to be discerning and picky about our real friends
Jack has said before about friends,"I don't want to play with (so-and-so) because he/she is mean to me" or "I like (so-and-so) because he/she is nice to me." I thought that was very mature of him, to have the discernment to know when someone else's personality/method of playing didn't encourage him, and the wisdom to know that it's okay to not be friends with people who don't encourage you. I sometimes feel obligated to try to be friends with everyone I meet...but not only is that impossible, but it's not beneficial for anyone. Certain personalities blend better than others, and it's okay to be picky. You do glean a lot from your friends, after all--better make sure they're worth gleaning from! (And it goes without saying, also to make sure I'm the kind of friend who's encouraging to be around!)
* To be honest about feelings and emotions
These little ones do not hide what they're feeling at all! Sure, they need a little guidance and maturity to know how to better express what they're feeling, but I think it's very healthy and good that they express instead of bottling it up inside. It's good to deal with issues when they happen instead of letting them get out of control.
* That God is involved and cares about the tiniest matters in our lives
I love it when Jack involves Jesus in even the tiniest of situations throughout the day. One of my favorites (which I may have shared previously), was when I told him a joke, and while laughing heartily he said, "Jesus in my heart is laughing!" I love that image: God in our midst, laughing with us about a funny joke. Jack is also very cognizant of and verbal about how Jesus will help us in various situations, like finding a lost toy or healing an owie, etc.
I know these lists could be endless--I'd love to hear what your children teach you, too!