"Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me. (Luke 9:48 NRSV)
Syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman, a few years ago, wrote these wise words: "We raise our children with ethical time bombs, built-in disillusionment alarms. We allow our children their ideals until they are perhaps 13 or 15 or 18 or 22. But if they don't let go of their ideals, we worry about whether they will be able to function in the real world. After all, the real world is some place else. We have to be tough and even a little cynical."

Goodman goes on to give examples of what she means: "Adults know that clean air is all very nice, but it must be balanced against jobs. Adults know that helping others is neat, but it may well take away their motivation to find a job. Adults know that peace is swell, but we can't ever trust our enemies to ever stop preparing for war." Goodman concludes that this so-called realism of adults may be the true "junk food" of our time. "We instill ideals in our children, resent it when our children challenge us for not living up to them, and then feel reassured when our kids give up their ideals like sleds or cartoons."

Can this be what Jesus had in mind when he asked His disciples not to lose the child-like spirit: when he warned them about hindering little children on their way into the kingdom?

Dear Jesus, may I do all I can to allow your children to fully live with a child-like spirit. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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