A few weeks ago at church, the priest was discussing how Jesus continually exhorted his followers to be like little children. He pointed out that children do so many things well--including loving themselves. He noted that children don't find themselves too big or too little or too dull or too anything. They suspend judgment, even judgment of themselves. He said that from his vantage point, he saw families walk into church late each Sunday, and while the parents' faces bore traces of embarrassment, the children came in smiling. At this point, he said, "Children are really incredible." And right on cue, Barnes let out a loud, angry scream, causing the entire congregation to burst into laughter.
But really, since Barnes's homily I have been dwelling on the life lessons my twins have to impart. We worry so much about educating our little ones, but if we sit still and observe, our children are true teachers.
Yes, they love themselves. They think they are funny and special and talented. The pride they feel when they do something new (or even something not so new) is incredible. Wouldn't it be wonderful to feel that proud of yourself once in a while?
And they don't just love themselves, they love everyone. They wave and smile at friends and strangers alike. When we shop, Frances literally rolls through the store waving at everyone she can find. They don't notice what someone is wearing or driving or which political bumper sticker they have on their car--they only notice a person's warmth.
They are persistent. The twins received an awesome racer (thanks, Leah!) for their birthday, and for weeks now Barnes has been able to push himself backwards. He couldn't, however, figure out the whole forward motion thing. But he never stopped. He got on his racer every day...he stared down at his feet...he touched the ground while I pushed him forward. And this week he got it. Couldn't we all use a dose of that spirit?
Children come into this world pure and whole. They are a blank slate, free from the insecurities and prejudices that weigh us down. I pray that in the hours I spend with my two children, a bit of this sweetness of spirit can rub off on me, and that I can learn to be more like my twins.