When asked how he and his wife had been able to stay married for 25 years, the husband replied: “Neither one of us wanted custody of the kids.”
Comic actor W.C. Fields is supposed to have said: “Anybody who hates children and animals can’t be all bad.”
Mark Twain voiced his advice about teenagers when he said: “When a kid turns 13, stick him in a barrel, nail the lid shut, and feed him through the knot hold. When he turns 16, plug the hole.”
Such quips are always good for a laugh but, while they hint at the difficulties of raising a family, they don’t tell the whole story. The truth is children are a blessing. And our grandchildren are golden. We can learn a lot from them.
Jesus loved children and urged us to embrace childlike qualities. When His disciples tried to prevent children from being brought to Him, He rebuked them saying: “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for such is the Kingdom of God.”
Jesus wants us to be “childlike” not “childish” in our faith. He wants us to emulate and focus on the childlike qualities of innocence, purity, gentleness, trust, joy, and unconditional love.
I remember an Easter Sunday long ago and far away, when little girls wore hats and gloves for the occasion. We had twin five-year-olds in the parish and they knelt together at the communion rail to receive a blessing. The boy received his blessing with piously folded hands and when it came time for his twin sister to receive her blessing, he reached over and lifted her bonnet from her head so she might receive her blessing unobstructed.
Now, I’m pretty sure that God’s blessings can penetrate a hat, but there may very well be other obstructions in life that we might need to lift from our spiritual siblings so that they might feel the full warmth of God’s love.
On another occasion a seven year old whispered that if I would give him two blessings, he would pass one on to his brother who was at home sick with a cold. In nearly 50 years of ministry, I have not found anything in the church that makes more sense. We are indeed blessed to be a blessing. Blessings are meant to be passed around. This simple wisdom is the essence of the Church. Thanks be to God!