This is a re-post of an article from a few years back …and Valentine’s is upon us again! Thank you, all parents, who do your very best in whatever situation you are in. Your unconditional love means more to your child(ren) than you know. Keep up the good work:)
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: ‘ I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.'” Matthew 18:1-5
“Like little children”…hhhmmm. My Study Bible says that means “Trusting and unpretentious.” Og Mandino, one of my favorite authors, says this: “Never will I allow myself to become so important, so wise, so dignified, so powerful, that I forget how to laugh at myself and my world. In this matter I will always remain as a child…”
Can I live as an adult in this world with all of the responsibilities that entails and still see the world as a little child? I hope so. I think that is why I have surrounded myself with little children for my entire adult life. I have four children of my own, and I have taught preschoolers for years and years… There is something about being with and around children that demands a distinct perspective. Everything must be broken down into it’s simplest form, and by doing that, much of the trivial and petty can be pruned away.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15: 1, 2
That is my job, I think… my purpose…to help my children and other children, to help MYSELF and anyone else that wants to talk with me… to focus on what matters. There is a whole lot in this world that doesn’t.
A couple of years ago I woke up on Valentine’s Day, and I HAD to write something down. I ran right to my computer and started typing, and I would like to share with you what I wrote. I did not think about the words, they came to me… and I knew at the time that my young children would not understand them, but I also knew that one day they would understand and I wanted them to know what was important in this life to me…
“Things I Want My Children to Know” You are beautiful. Take care of yourself. Celebrate your good fortune. Give thanks for your good luck. There are a lot of beautiful souls in the world, but not all beautiful souls have beautiful faces too. Your body and your face might be beautiful, but it is much more important to be beautiful on the inside. You, my children, are beautiful throughout. So be beautiful. Talk beautiful – be gracious, polite and kind. Never repeat hurtful gossip or say cruel words you will regret. Do not participate in spreading rumors. Choose your words carefully. Discover how to speak comfortably to a President, a preacher, a peddler and everyone in between. No one’s title, position or finacial status changes the fact that we are all human. We are all made in God’s image, and worthy of dignity and kindness. Walk beautiful – be thankful for your strong, healthy, graceful body. Put care into keeping yourself clean. Choose your food and drink knowing that we eat for health and strength. Be careful about the words and images that you allow to come into your mind. Carry yourself straight and tall – and look at people when they talk to you. Remember that your clothes, shoes, or even friends don’t define you- but they do represent you. Be comfortable; be healthy; be beautiful inside and out. Be true to yourself. Resist those things that will not benefit you. Think beautiful thoughts. “Let your light so shine…!”
You are Smart. Surround yourself with people and books and art that give you something to think about. Let those thoughts create wonder and joy and a desire to know more. Be inspired. Would you rather have a swimming pool amount of information and experiences during a lifetime… or an ocean amount? Both are out there and available. Remember that life is about making choices and taking chances. We must admit to ourselves that there is a lot more that we don’t know than that we do know. This is the dilemma… we have to decide if we are content hanging out at the pool. It is familiar. It is what we know. It is clear and calm and warm and shallow. It is comfortable. There are safety ropes, and safety ladders and “life guards” available if we get in trouble… but the pool is small. You might get lulled doing the back-float and spend a lot of time with your eyes closed. How is that different from being asleep? Do you want to sleep your life away, or do you want to LIVE? If you want to live, emerse yourself in the unknown… it may be dark, it may be rough or cold or at times very uncomfortable. Life is a search for answers. Life is a collection of experiences. If you are brave enough to look, you will find the world big, rich and diverse… just like an ocean. There are no guarantees. Life can be rough and scary sometimes… or calm and sure. It can be immensely satisfying … but it can also be ugly. You must learn to appreciate beauty when it is obvious, and search for it when it isn’t. Don’t float, go somewhere… have a destination… Be baptized in LIFE.
You are talented. Show respect to your Creator by being grateful. A talent is a special gift for you to develop. Use it to give joy to God, to others, and to yourself. To toss this gift away like an unwanted toy, is to tell God that you know better than He. Remember that HE gave the gift TO YOU! Don’t neglect your gift. Things that are neglected often get lost and are never found. You might think that it doesn’t matter whether or not you spend the time practicing and accomplishing… doing… But talents, like flowers, or pets, or people, need time and attention to thrive. Choosing not to tend your talent is rejection. Rejection is an action and all actions have consequences. When you are older, the rewards you will get from using and investing in your talents will make you a happier and more fulfilled person. Others will benefit and reap enjoyment from your efforts. A talent is a seed… care for it and cherish it and it will produce a harvest that brings satisfacion to you and to many. The opposite feelings of regret and longing will be poor substitutes for what you could have had. Don’t set yourself up for regret. If a gift has been given, take it. Use it. Enjoy it. Share it… and you won’t regret it.
You are athletic. Go for it! Run as fast as you can. Throw hard and straight. Kick, jump, flip, score, don’t hold anything back. When the race or game or meet is over, look back with confidence and be able to say, “I did the best I could do!” At the end of the game, when your energy is expended and your body is exhausted you should feel fantastic! Tired… yes. But a good tired. An accomplished tired. You have one body, one youth, one life. Always give your all. Find out just how good you can be. When you are old, you will know in your heart that you were given a lot and you spent it in full. Your ability is not something to store for later use. As they say, “Use it or lose it”… or another saying that applies, “You can’t take it with you!” Your body is a temple. You only have one physical self to carry you through many years. Choose your activities wisely. Remember that any unhealthy substances you put into your body, any risky activity you do with your body, will have an effect. Set Goals. See yourself succeeding. Be thoughtful. Be smart… But PLAY HARD!
You are Loved. Love each other. A loving family is a wonderful thing. We are all unique individuals thrown together in a small space for a granted amount of time. We show each other our best… and our worst selves. Often we do not act lovable, but we know we are loved just the same. Remember we are also members of an extended family… extended to the point that it includes everyone. We are all unique individuals thrown together to co-exist on a small planet. To continue to live in peace and harmony, when we have wronged someone, ask forgiveness. When someone treats you unkindly, forgive. Don’t hold ugly feelings in your heart. Only have room for love to dwell. There is no room or time for hate or bitterness. Live with peace, joy, faith, hope and of course love in your heart. You have control over your choices, your actions and your heart. How much money you have; what kind of car you drive; how big a house you own; which toys you accumulate; what brand of clothes you wear – are all just things… what you look like or where you are from are minor details. The accumulation of wealth and possessions does not create satisfaction. Beauty and status do not guarantee satisfaction. Happiness comes from loving others and being loved.
“I will paint this day with laughter; I will frame this night in song. Never will I labor to be happy; rather will I remain too busy to be sad. I will enjoy today’s happiness today. It is not grain to be stored in a box. It is not wine to be saved in a jar. It cannot be saved for the morrow. It must be sown and reaped on the same day and this I will do henceforth. I will laugh at the world. And with my laughter all things will be reduced to their proper size.” Og Mandino
Happy Valentine’s. … “Love NEVER fails…” 1 Corinthians 13:8