It may be the experience of years that causes me to view all children as little adults. They will mature so quickly. The stumbling, foolish ten-year-old will be an adult in just ten years. In twenty years it will be obvious to him and others whether his life is a success or a failure. Will this little guy or gal running around the church yard think of me favorably ten years from now? What will be his memories of me? Will he remember me as a grumpy old man that spoiled all his fun, or as someone who took interest in his life and was a friend as he was growing up? Will he come to me for counsel or say, “He is the last person I want to talk to”?
I feel the need to address all children as people of worth, as souls soaking up their surroundings and forming worldviews with every experience. Each of us is a vital part of the mold that forms eternal souls. It is a grave responsibility.
I still have unpleasant memories of several adults, dating back as early as four years old—some brief word spoken in passing, a slight or dismissal, a rebuke I felt was not warranted. Uncles, cousins, church leaders, school teachers, ministers, friends of the family, they knew not that in one event they left an impression by which they are still judged today.
The disciples felt there were too many children crowding Jesus, preventing adult conversation, no doubt making too much noise, not appreciating the gravity of the moment, so they rebuked the adults for allowing their children to press in upon Jesus. “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14).
If we ignore the children until their untoward behavior demands our attention, we are foolishly wasting human resources. Better to bind what is not yet broken than to try to repair the shattered and wasted lives of adults.
Go love a child today; see the adult in them and plant seeds that will bear fruit long after you are gone. ☺