I am constantly filled with joy at the love that I see from children.
They do not hate anyone, everyone they encounter is a friend. Skin color doesn’t mean a single thing to them. Age is simply a viewed opportunity to learn from someone new. And the world is full of possibilities.
My three year old niece has recently become a big fan of talking to everyone she sees. At the park she ran around with a boy many years older than she. She told me after that she was excited to “run with the kid”. She runs to save me from the “monster” when a balloon hits my head. A four year old that I work with at school has become the best of friends with one of the special needs high school kids in the class. Children simply have a heart full of love.
Today I took my niece out to breakfast. We walked into a local Cracker Barrel and I was already ready to walk out. She hadn’t eaten anything other than two chips all morning and the poor girl was simply hangry. She was not having it. I sat her down and attempted to distract her with coloring and games but it was just not suiting her needs. I looked around, bright red, embarrassed that I was unable to control her and glanced over to see an elderly women that was eating by herself.
She was smiling.
It wasn’t too busy and I figured maybe my little Evelyn just wanted to talk to someone that wasn’t me. At the moment I was the devil because candy was not on the list of things I would let her eat at eleven in the morning.
I pointed the women out to Evelyn and suggested she go talk to her. She walked over to the lady and chatted up a storm. I sat and observed from two tables over as Evelyns voice of excitement roared through the aisle.
She told her about her recent birthday and the birds she saw outside and the fun bath she took earlier and even ranted to her about how I wouldn’t give her candy.
Fast forward and we wrapped up our meal. Evelyn told me was going to draw a picture for her “new best friend” she scribbled and scribbled and scribbled and then plopped out of her seat and walked right up to the women and said “I have a surprise for you.” Gave her the drawing followed by a big bear hug and walked away.
All by her own free will.
It’s makes me think. If a three year old child can selfishly give up one of her own prized possessions for someone she hadn’t known but one hour, why do we struggle to love people so much?
Why does it take seventeen lives being lost to gun violence for us to rally together as schools and say no more?
Why is it that it is only after a classmate takes their own life that we talk to those we hadn’t before?
I pray that I can learn to show the same grace to those around me as my niece shows to those she encounters. This world is full of hate and shame and the simplest of joys are what keeps this world going. I pray that I can learn to see life through the eyes of a child.
And I pray the same for you.