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  • ivanildotrindade 9:53 pm on June 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: adults, , , , lessons from children,   

    Learning From Children — Part 1 

    Dear readers:

    I have been so busy I barely have had time to eat! I returned from Asia only last week and had to quickly adjust to time and work back in Wooster. Now I am getting ready to lead a team to the Amazon in Brazil. We leave in nine days. Yesterday, I was the guest speaker at another church and I wanted to share the message I shared with that congregation. they gave me the topic — parenting and family. I chose to speak on the lessons God teaches us through children. I share it with you so you can feel a little bit of my heart. It will be a three-part series. Hope you enjoy it. 

    I once read a story about Dwight Moody coming back from one of his evangelistic campaigns and telling his wife that he had two and a half converts that evening. She asked him, “How old was the child?” He said, “Oh no, it was two children and one adult.”

    This story reminds me that so often we get things reversed when it comes to children. While we recognize that children need guidance and direction and are prone to get into mischief, it is also true that there are times when God wants us to follow the children’s way and not the other way around. Jesus was a master at using children to teach adults valuable insights and today I want to look at

    three lessons He taught us through God’s precious children and they are all found in the Gospel of Matthew.

    The first lesson we want to look at is

    A. The Lesson of Friendship

    We find that in Matthew 19:13-14. If you have a copy of Scriptures, I ask you to open it there, if not, I have the words for you on the screen:

    “Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” (Matthew 19:13-14).

    Let’s face it; children can be a handful sometimes.

    My youngest daughter, Carissa, when she was a baby, she was always into everything. Her hands were like little weapons of mass destruction. She could be smiling at you while her hands were doing havoc behind her back. When she was a toddler, she was a handful at church, never sitting still, never listening to anyone. More than once I had to take her outside and read the Miranda rights to her.

    One time I was speaking and she was being particularly difficult. I apologized to my people and said, “I gotta take my daughter outside and have a little talk with her.” I grabbed her; put her on my arms, and started marching out of the building. She was facing the opposite way, toward the people, and just before we left the building, she yelled: “Pray for me!” The whole place erupted in laughter. I mean, after that, what can you possibly do?

    I realize that keeping kids under control can be an impossible task at times. I just returned from SE Asia and while there I interviewed a couple for a job. They have an eighteen month old baby who was crying the whole time we talked. Needless to say, the interview didn’t go very well.

    Sometimes kids can be more than a distraction. They can be absolutely taxing and overwhelming.

    This week my heart skipped a beat as I read the words of a young woman who posted online how much she hates being a mom. Here are some of her words:

    “I hate being a mother… My kids are of toddler and preschool age. They fight, scream and demand all the time… I am so unhappy… I never have a moment to just relax… Yes I love my kids but I hate mothering them… I fantasize about running away from it all. It’s too much!!! If I had to do it all over, I wouldn’t have any children. I hate being a mother.”

    If kids are perceived this way today, imagine back in Jesus’ day when children were considered to be more baggage and weight than an asset. The disciples were just displaying their cultural bias when they tried to stop people from bringing their children to Jesus. I can almost hear their words, “Look, the Lord is busy. Don’t you see all the people around him? He has more important things to do than to hold your sweaty little brats.”

    Jesus, the master contrarian, would have none of that. When he saw what the disciples were doing, he rebuked them. In fact, Mark adds an insightful comment that makes it unmistakably clear how Jesus felt about this issue. He says that the Lord became “indignant.” The word used there is very strong and it is the only time in the New Testament where it is used in reference to Jesus. Mark was not afraid to reveal Jesus’ true feelings on the matter. Today we would say that Jesus was “incensed” or “angry.”

    I can picture Jesus catching the commotion from the corner of his eyes as the disciples were trying to stop moms and dads from bringing their children to be blessed by Him. I can hear Him saying, “Guys, what are you doing? Stop that nonsense. Don’t mess with my precious children. It’s people like them that will keep me company in heaven.” And then he proceeded to take children on His lap and bless them… and all the other business was tabled! Don’t you love that?

    Jesus’ example shows us that He is a friend of children par excellence. And He wants us to go out of our way to love children, make them feel welcome, and never do anything that would block the path that leads children to Him.

    I am always amazed when I go to Latin America or Asia to see people lowering themselves when they speak to a child. From the child’s perspective, it makes perfect sense because all they can see, when adults talk to them, is some hairy legs or stockings, if they are lucky. I don’t know about you but I find it a little hard to have a conversation with a leg…

    Jesus, in a way, was teaching us to come down to the level of the children, to have the worm’s eye view, so to speak, and not the bird’s eye view. By strongly contradicting the disciples and interrupting everything to bless the children, Jesus was showing us the supreme value of children in God’s eye, and if we want to honor God we have to see children the same way.

    At the church where I serve every year we have a Sunday when we celebrate children in a special way. I remember a couple of years ago when our senior pastor preached a passionate sermon about letting the children come to Jesus. One of the things he said was that we needed to make our church a lot more kid-friendly. At some point he got excited and he said we shouldn’t give kids a hard time when they giggle and run through the hallways. He said, “Let the children run!” A few minutes after the service was over I saw a friend of mine, who is also an usher, telling a group of kids to stop running around. I said, only half-jokingly, “Didn’t you hear what the man said? ‘Let the children run!’”

    The point is that many grown-ups have this default mode to always keep children on a short leash. But there are times when we just need to let children be children. We need to give them room, within reason, to mess things up for that’s what children do best.

    We also need to make sure that we create an environment, whether at home or in church, that is positive, fun and encouraging for children. Make no mistake about it: children are surrounded by negativity every day. When my kids were small, I used to pray this prayer for them: “God, please surround my kids today with positive people; people who will build them up and not tear them down; people who will point them to God and not to the world; people who will bring the best and not the worst in them.”

    Speaking of prayer, ever since my children were born, I have prayed what I call the 3 P’s for them. 1. The first “P” is for protection (from the world, from the enemy of their souls and from themselves); 2. The second “P” is for purpose (I want my children to totally immerse themselves in the purpose of God for their lives. I don’t want them to rest until they find that purpose. And though I don’t want them to be miserable, until they find that purpose, I want them to be restless); 3. The third “P” is for a partner (think about this: there is a good chance that your children’s future partners are already living somewhere, people are shaping their lives, and decisions that will change them forever are being made). If you are not in the habit of praying the 3 P’s for your children, you should start that today.

    So, to recap, the first lesson God wants us to learn through His precious children is that we need to treat children as Jesus’ friends, not a burden.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

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  • ivanildotrindade 9:01 pm on September 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , lessons from children,   

    Though dead, he yet speaks 

    Most of my readers probably don’t know this, but I have another son besides Joshua. I say I have because I do believe in the immortality of the soul. Caleb would be 23 this October. My first male child, he lived too little but taught me so much with his short life.

    My son was born with a lung deficiency and the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck didn’t help matters. He lived in the warm womb of his loving mother then moved to the cold womb of an incubator. A few days was all he had.

    I was out-of-state when my wife went into labor. By the time I heard the news he was already too ill. I went to the airline to buy tickets so I could be with my family and while there I met a college roommate who had come back to our hometown to be at the funeral of his teenage brother who had succumbed to cancer. Little did I know that in a few days I was going to bury my son. I was absolutely certain that my son was going to be okay. After all, I believed in God, I was serving Him and I erroneously had it on the back of my mind that these things didn’t happen to people like me.

    I gave my friend my condolences and never once mentioned that I was going to travel to see my sick son who had just been born. Part of the reason was that I didn’t know how serious his condition was. The other part was simply confidence that God would not let me down.

    I arrived in the hospital and saw my son first from a distance, then from so close I could almost touch him. He had a sweet face, peaceful, almost oblivious to everything happening around him. He had four medical specialists taking care of him. His family was surrounding him with love and prayers were being offered by everyone. Next to him was a boy who never stopped crying. He had the lungs of a soccer announcer screaming “goooooollllllll!” Nobody paid attention to him. Not a one. Not even his mom. I learned later she was a 16-year-old who delivered him and fled the hospital.

    You can’t miss the irony: on one corner, the baby everyone wants, surrounded by love and care, but fighting for his life with his every breath; on the other, the baby no one wants, living life fully and annoying everyone with his every breath. In the end the one with the collapsed lung died and the one whose heart would one day be broken lived.

    The grief that followed my son’s death was the most intense feeling I ever had in my life. But it was also the time I felt most loved by people in our church. Out of utter darkness came the brightest light. And with every new day hope was restored brick by brick. I never lost my faith in God and never once blamed Him for taking my son.

    Sometimes I feel the breeze on my face when I am driving my car with the windows down. For some reason I think of Caleb in those times and tears come down my face. I think of his beautiful face and the smile he would give his mom when she got close to him and talked to him. My son recognized his mom’s voice and his smile was love displayed in soft strokes.

    My son never lived to consciously teach me anything, but his short life and swift going taught me that there is no depth of suffering in this world that can’t be overcome with the hope that we have in Christ. And I am glad I found the way and keep finding the way every day out of the mess which I tend to make around me from time to time.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
    • ivanildotrindade 10:29 pm on September 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I checked your blog, Bonnie, and was very touched by it. God’s peace to you and blessings in all you do. Thanks.

    • Rebecca Carney - One Woman's Perspective 11:07 am on September 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      “You can’t miss the irony: on one corner, the baby everyone wants, surrounded by love and care, but fighting for his life with his every breath; on the other, the baby no one wants, living life fully and annoying everyone with his every breath. In the end the one with the collapsed lung died and the one whose heart would one day be broken lived.”

      You are right…sometimes the irony is hard to miss…

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