Last week's message at church was on children. Tonight we had our growth group biblestudy (a group of seven of us meets at our home each week to discuss the sermon, share in each other's lives, etc.--I totally look forward to it each week!) and much of the discussion revolved around childrens' value in society, as well as their value within church.
I think we all agreed that children are not particularly valued in our society at large (or at least as much as they should be.) We also talked about the fact that being within the confines of a church does not gaurantee that your kid is going to be valued either.
I remember one day last summer, I had to take the car to get it smogged (and it FAILED--are we surprised?) and so I walked Anna over to Carl's Jr. for lunch while I waited for it to be done. We sat down and she was chattering loudly but happily. An older couple was sitting a few tables over. The woman called over to me, "Can you get her to be quiet?" I'm thinking, I must have misheard this woman, she couldn't possibly mean what I think she means. So I asked, "What?" And the woman said, "She's being too loud, tell her to be quiet." UM, HELLO? Carl's Jr., lunchtime, it's a cheap fast-food restaurant, kids and babies everywhere...what were they expecting? Somehow (and this is big for me, because I am quite possibly the world's least confrontational person) I managed to say, "No. She's a child, I can't control the sounds she makes, and she's happy, she's just talking." GO ME! I was shaking inside but somehow managed to sound calm yet firm on the outside. Well needless to say the couple bitterly got up and moved to the other side of the restaurant.
Now, as fate would have it, I noticed as we were leaving Carl's Jr. that the place where the couple had moved to sit was full of this wonderful, happy, loud, huge group of developmentally disabled adults. I had to chuckle--it would appear that the sterile, silent lunch this couple was hoping for was not to be found in the Santa Maria Carl's Jr. that afternoon. Oh to have seen the expression on the couple's face when that group came and sat down!
I think there is much beauty, innocence and joy to be found in children. Sadly, all too often they are seen as a nuisance, distraction, or just "too much work." I have seen these attitudes in all sorts of places, including church. I am inclined to think it's a by-product of a wealthy, materialistic society.
As a follower of Jesus, I so want to love the way He loved. That means loving children--not just my own three kids, but children in general. I don't ever want to isolate myself from the laughter, fun, and sweet simplicity that kids bring to the table. What about you?