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Children Are Teaching Us!

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Most adults recognize it is their “job” to teach children right from wrong, good from bad, safe from scary, yes from no.

But there are some lessons that children are better at teaching us. Think about celebrations like birthdays (especially Christmas), and Easter, and any other special days that have the possibility of “presents” attached. 

Kids LOVE them, anticipate and adore them. Children love and accept presents with unabashed enthusiasm. Receiving a gift is “all good.”

For adults it is a bit more difficult. We worry about the cost of the gift. We worry about reciprocating the gift. We worry about whether the gift has invisible “strings” attached. Suddenly “receiving” is a bit more complicated than just joyous. 

Receiving a gift is hard for most of us. We either feel beholden, or suspicious, or overwhelmed, or unworthy of the freely given gifts (gratuities) that bless us. That’s why adults often become better givers than receivers.

The adult vs. child version of acceptance is even greater with the other tremendous “gift” young children are good at offering and accepting. Kindergarten kids might get into a heated battle over who gets custody of a Ninja Turtle figure. Tears and blows might even be involved. 

But after a truce is called, and apologies are offered (or sometimes enforced), in a short time all is forgiven, and (play) time goes on. Forgiveness is offered and the play date goes on.

There are no thoughts of revenge. There is no nurturing of anger. There are no dreams of retribution as with us adults. The definition of retribution in the Oxford Dictionary is: “The punishment inflicted on someone as vengeance for a wrong or criminal act.” 

This is the point of the Parable of Jesus about the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35).  The servant who was forgiven a massive (unrepayable) debt, refused to give forgiveness to another servant who owed him a relatively small debt.

Thanks to Ketut Subiyanto for the photo.

How often have YOU entertained thoughts of revenge? Do YOU believe in retribution?


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