I was approached by a little 5th grade girl this week at church who was having a fundraiser at her school. Unfortunately I had no cash, no checkbook, and no purse on me at the time. But rather than send her on her merry way, I engaged her in conversation. I love to engage kids in conversation. I really love it when they engage back. So I began by asking her the normal stuff: how’s school, how are your classes, how’s your teacher, etc.
Then it got interesting…
After telling me her teacher was “just okay” I thought I’d probe a little.
“Why just okay? What’s the matter with her?” I asked.
“She’s o-o-old!” she responded.
I chuckled. So just out of curiosity, I questioned her, “How old is o-o-old?”
“Oh, she’s at least in her 40’s.”
I laughed out loud! “So your definition of old is someone in their 40’s?”
“Yep,” she said.
“So what do you call someone in their 60’s?”
“Umm…someone in their 60’s is ancient,” she said without batting an eye.
“Wow! So if 40’s is o-o-old, and 60’s is ancient, then what’s 80’s or 90’s?” At this point, I couldn’t wait for her response.
“Someone in their 80’s or 90’s? Well, they’re just antiques!”
And off she went.
Don’t you just love kids? Don’t you just love their candidness? Their innocence? Their energy? Their eagerness? At an early age, kids are carefree, unassuming, and full of acceptance.
Even though I’m in my 40’s, which according to my little friend is o-o-old, kids sorta make me feel young again.
Jesus dug kids. I sometimes wonder why. In a culture where kids were to be silent and subservient, He broke the mold and welcomed them. People were actually being shooed away when they tried to bring their little ones to Jesus. But Jesus, in His unconventional style, actually called out to them, invited them over, and embraced them.
At one point Jesus said, “…unless you change your whole outlook and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. It is the man who can be as humble as this little child who is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4, JBP).
I wonder if Jesus ever grew weary of the arrogant, stuck-in-their-ways, critical, judgmental, hypocritical, self-centered, manipulative, unaccepting, just-plain-didn’t-get-it adults He dealt with every day?
Probably! No wonder He thought kids were refreshing to be around.
Maybe it’s time we change our outlook. Grab some candor. Find some energy. Recapture a little innocence. Unearth a little eagerness. Dive into humility. Accept someone who is unacceptable. Care less about the things we stress about. Care more about being present in the everyday moments that can make a lasting memory.
Whether you’re old, ancient, or an antique, change your outlook and embrace that inner kid in you.