Children are naturally outgoing. They enjoy laughing and their hearts are merry as they reach out for connection. That’s how God wired them. Having someone value you and treat you like you matter and that you have worth is a precious gift. Children still need to learn kindness, sharing and caring, but it seems to come easy for mentally healthy children to be friendly. I believe I too used to be friendly. My mom told me I used to say hello to people as a two year old. However, I have been painfully shy for as long as I can remember. I can’t remember the specifics, but I believe I was shamed for my friendliness towards others by someone, who didn’t want my company. I recently saw a video put out by the Campaign to End Loneliness of children befriending stranger adults in a coffee shop. It really resonated with me. It hurts to be alone and not in relationship with others. Spending time with others is my love language, yet it has hardly been spoken to me. It is great to commune with others over a meal for example. Gatherings and parties where people celebrate and cherish one another are beautiful things. I long to be in connection with others. It is a gift of God. I know that our relationship with God is of upmost importance. Childlikeness, which includes enjoying being in relationships and spreading good cheer is something to be cherished, not frowned upon. We can learn a lesson from these children instead of shunning them like children were in the old days when they should be seen and not heard. It hurts a child to reach out to someone that matters to them only to be shown that they do not matter. This how division starts. Children get penalized for being happy, then for being sad, and then their spirits end up getting crushed. We could learn a lot from children instead of trying to fit them into our mold. Nowadays we have too many people suffering from loneliness and rejection and made to feel that they do not matter or have value. Not just adults hurt children via emotional abuse or neglect, but other children too in the form of bullying. Today, 50% of teenagers are depressed between suffering from accusations and assaults on their character, and being rejected and jeered by their peers as well as facing this overall harsh and brutal culture and values that surround them.
The lessons that young happy children teach us are profound. We need to value one another and celebrate an embrace one another, treating one another like we are important and that we matter. The word communication actually means common meaning making. We need to be in harmony and in unity with one another. People need acceptance and respect. The country is more divided now than ever. People cannot speak up for what they believe in, lest they be condemned, so they suffer silently. A lot of people particularly the mentally ill, the downtrodden, the poor and the oppressed do not have a voice and are not being heard. We are taught to put up and shut up. There is a lack of respect and trust as people are not being listened to or shown that others care. When people do not feel accepted, it is a major cause of loneliness in children and adults alike. The lesson here is that people want to feel that their company is enjoyed and that they have worth. Cheerful sweetness has been wired into our hearts by God but sadly, as we grow older and/or emotionally abused as children or as adults, we suffer from a lack of enthusiasm about being around other people even though we long to be shown we are loved. Jesus says “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 8:3. Children long for security and safety and since they have a natural affinity to express themselves, they need an environment where they can be cheerful, sweet and playful as well as cry when something is wrong without fear. Sweetness, tenderness, beauty, nature, adventure, intimacy, are attributes of the kingdom and of heaven and children instinctively enjoy these things and they should not be withheld from them.
Adults long for the beauty and sweetness of heaven deep down as well as relationship, since God wired all people that way. Sadly there are brokenhearted adults whose childhood was not happy or they experienced severe emotional abuse in their adulthood or both. Even if these people did not get the respect (given the freedom to be happy or express happiness) or security (given the freedom to cry or seek comfort and receiving needed comfort) and have suffered arrested emotional development as a result, they still need grace, mercy and unconditional love. Although, they may have some measure of immaturity or childishness in addition to childlikeness, their voices should still be heard. They should still be listened to and taken seriously and believed in. If they have dreams especially those placed on their hearts by God that can be achieved by normal people, but are not yet equipped, or still do not have the skills or the know how or are unsure of the steps to take, or still have not figured it out, etc., then we still should believe in them, even if we cannot mentor them or invest in them for the time being. God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. If adults with mental illness due to unresolved hurts or brokenness have a dream that God put on their hearts even though there is a big chasm between where they are and where they need and desire to be to serve in the capacity God called them to, they still need our support rather than being disregarded, dismissed or written off. God will send a divine mentor to invest in their lives when the time is right, and if God is laying it on your heart to help a broken hearted person make their dreams come true, please heed Him.
Usually children who are allowed to be kids and play and have fun are more likely to be successful when adults and better servants, contrary to what many parents might think. Some parents, particularly authoritarians, withhold fun from their children and make slaves of them for example, or if they are at least disciplinarians including those who suffer mental illness themselves will shame them for being what God made them to be like I was unfortunately, inhibiting them from healthy growth and development and becoming sound capable adults. The last things adults with improper upbringings need is more lack of grace and shame and accusations dumped on them.
We live in a fallen world with many broken, hurting troubled people who need our help. We need to be like the children in the video and live by their example and value all people from all walks of life, giving them love, respect, grace, mercy, compassion and tenderness, and showing them that they are valued and that they matter. God qualifies a willing heart who wants to love others by serving or cheering them up whether a child or an adult. In other words those who want to love need to be loved back by helping them love using the language given to them by God. Their motives should not be misjudged or misunderstood, but welcomed and appreciated. If they lack the skills to serve in the way they are willing to, yet are teachable they deserve and need our support and our time. Let us love one another right now.