, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Inspiration for Today’s Motivational: “Call of the Cutie”

Out of all the regrets I have from when I was younger, I don’t think any resonates more than wanting to “grow up”. Apple Bloom doesn’t know how good she has it, and her bullies don’t know what they’re saying. It’s fun to be a kid…or, more appropriately, at that rare window of time when you’ve gained enough of your faculties to start thinking “more like an adult” yet still have the virtue of youth and the leisure of not having a job or the responsibilities of adulthood.

Now, there is a time for everything in life. Now that I’m older, with greater responsibility comes greater power. I can effect change more than I was as a child and I enjoy the feeling of independence, and I’ve obviously grown out of a lot of things like playing with toys or being able to eat a lot more junk food :P. But I think what I miss the most about youth in general is my sense of perspective.

When I was younger and I heard that I could write to the President of the United States about environmental issues, I was ecstatic. I wrote a very hastily scrawled letter to then-President George H.W. Bush and I honestly believed in doing so there would be a huge change toward less pollution and more conservation. I was even happier when I got a letter back, thinking that all but confirmed it. Of course, nowadays, whenever I write a letter to the government I’m sure it only gets shuffled into some pile somewhere where they keep tally marks of the issues of the constituents, and they have staff and interns which write the responses and all the President does is put his signature on it…possibly with a rubber stamp.

But the idea was that I had greater faith as a child. I did indeed believe anything was possible. When teachers and adults told me I could become whatever I wanted to be when I grew up, I believed it. When I heard about issues such as refugees or starvation or unemployment, I knew everything would be alright when I “got bigger” because I could take care of it. I saw people in a much “warmer” light. Oh, sure…there were times when, based on what adults said, I would think of this or that group or army being “bad guys”, but I didn’t give thoughts to what was appropriate or PC in regards to other people around me, and I didn’t have biases or prejudices to grapple with when I was younger and more innocent.

Most of all, I believed God could do anything. And when I prayed, I knew I only had to pray once, because I had entrusted it to God and I knew he would come through for me now. God knew what I wanted or needed and I was in good shape.

In Mark 10:15, Jesus says: “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will not enter it.” Now, children have their bad points. They can be naive, selfish, and petty. (Then again, so can adults…and you can’t put adults in a corner.) But I think the main point Jesus was making was in regards to the faith of a child. How children believe and accept things that they hear from their parents far more readily and whole-heartedly as a child. As one gets older, along with greater responsibility becomes being more shrewd, more clever, and, unfortunately, more callous. We’re less likely to implicitly trust people when we get older. We’re more likely to be skewed or hardened from our experiences. In many cases this is a good thing, but in many cases it makes us too hard to things we can’t have proven to us or which go against our own nature and thought processes. The temptation is greater and greater with each passing year to look for hidden agendas and motives in people, to distrust things implicitly, want to “pick apart” everything we see and experience…and to make one excuse after another for why we don’t reach out to others or participate in Church as we should or have a greater devotional life, etc.

Perhaps what Jesus meant in Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (which can also be translated as “shrewd as serpents and simple as doves”) is that while it’s important to be clever about evil in the world, it’s also important to maintain that “faithful, hopeful, loving heart”, such as a child might have. I think a good challenge for us this weekend is to take some time, maybe a half hour, an hour, or simply long enough to look at someone or something in the world, and ask ourselves: “If I was again my child-like self who believed in doing good and great things to ‘save the world’, how would I respond to this?”

And for those who are adults, especially those who have an “Apple Bloom” in our own lives, let us also be mindful that with the greater acceptance and trust of a child comes greater impact from words. As our children accept what we say far more readily now than when we get older, we should be very careful what we tell them they are.

Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you for times in my life when I was full of innocence and wonder, and all the times I was able to trust you implicitly. When it comes to matters about changing the world, doing good, or faith in you, help me to have a more ‘child-like faith’ that puts its trust completely in you and knows in its heart that ‘all things work together for good’ for those that love God. And if in becoming older and more skilled and clever I have lost parts of me that were loving and kind, please help me to regain them. Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”