The value of childlikeness

It gave me great joy this past summer to watch my cousin’s little daughter mingle with the other children on several of the playgrounds that dot the northwest of London. Like any large metropolitan area, with its rich ethnic diversity, these places are oases away from the bustle of city life, where parents and children, neighbors and friends, can come together and share the swings, sand-pits, and climbing frames provided for everyone to enjoy. They encourage patience, sharing, and goodwill among the children and adults alike.

We know from the Gospels that Christ Jesus encouraged little children to visit with him. At first Jesus’ disciples thought that children were not important enough to merit the Master’s attention, but we read an account in Matthew’s Gospel of how Jesus rebuked them for this attitude. In The New Testament in Modern English by J. B. Phillips, we read: “ ‘You must let little children come to me, and you must never stop them. The kingdom of Heaven belongs to little children like these!’ ” (Matthew 19:13, 14).

Mary Baker Eddy, who was a devout student of the Bible from an early age, comments on why Jesus loved children. She writes in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Jesus loved little children because of their freedom from wrong and their receptiveness of right” (p. 236).

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