Out of the mouth of babes is an old saying that reminds us that children can be remarkably wise and insightful.

My 9 ½ year old grandson Jamie (isn’t that a great name for a grandson) and his 6 year old sister, Felicia, are here from Tokyo for a five week visit with Nana and Papa (my wife and me). Three days after they arrived  we took them to Lake Junaluska, in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. I was scheduled to attend a conference there and they could have fun with their grandmother while I attended the sessions.

On the first morning while we were having breakfast and discussing what Nana had planned for her and the grandkids that day. Jamie asked if I was going to be with them for all the fun activities. I told him that I could not because I had to go to a meeting. He seemed bewildered as he asked, “Why would you go to meeting here?”

Good question. Looking out over the lake, the mist shrouded mountains, and the blue skies, there was not a good answer to why anyone would choose to attend a meeting inside and miss the beauty and tranquility of this place. Why would anyone go to a meeting in such a wonderfully beautiful setting?

Out of the mouth of babes.

Several days ago Felicia was misbehaving. While discussing her bad attitude and improper actions she said, “You don’t understand. I’m trying!”

Don’t we all face that same predicament? And we are not alone. The Apostle Paul said, “I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway (Romans 7:19, New Living Translation).

Out of the mouth of babes.

Although Felicia is not perfect, she has a great attitude toward life. When her father picks her up from Day Care (Japan does not have Kindergarten) and he asks, “How was your day?” she almost always says, “Great!” On occasions she replies, “Kinda Great!” Her days are never “terrible” or “so-so.” Her worst days are “kinda great.” Maybe she understands something about the quality of life that God intended for all God’s children.

Out of the mouth of babes.

Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is born an artist; the problem is to remain an artist once they grow up.” I think he was suggesting that rational thought processes crowd out the creative tendencies and abilities as children “mature” and are taught how to deal with the realities of life.

In the same way I am convinced that children have an inherent understanding about things that learned and sophisticated adults have forgotten or choose to ignore. As they grow up the image of God becomes tarnished as innocence and the innate sense of how life should be lived is lost. Perhaps that is a part of what Jesus had in mind when he said “unless you become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

I am not suggesting that adults abdicate the role of training children in the way they should live. Adults have much to teach children and the duty to do so responsibility. On the other hand, adults have much to learn from children.

Jamie Jenkins

P.S. What wisdom and knowledge have you learned from children?

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