I know that sounds ridiculous.
Let’s be honest, there is literally nothing any kid can do that I cannot do better. I can express myself without crying, walk in a straight line, write a blog, tell a joke, and draw a picture better than any kid. I can totally school any kid at video games, basic math, or metaphysical philosophy. Kids have few, if any motor skills, ridiculous haircuts, poopy pants, too many boogers, and very little to contribute to any conversation. Doesn’t sound like kids are good at anything. I win.
Then Jesus had to go and say that the adults should be like the children. Adults have never known what to do with that. I guess we’ve boiled it down to trying to stay naive and believe everything we’re told, because kids are gullible and incapable of critical thinking.
But the more I work with kids and adults, the more I think I understand what Jesus might have meant. Despite their lack of hygiene and their disproportioned heads, kids have a few things on adults.
Seven Ways Kids Are Better Than Adults
Pro: Kids don’t say, “This is how we’ve always done it.”
Adults can really be sentemental sometimes. And by that, I mean we’ll defend something to the death, even if it’s broken and useless, because we don’t want to get out of our fifty year old rut and do something new. Tradition’s great, but since when is it a reason to keep doing things the same? Revolutions and civil wars are fought and churches are split because “how we’ve always done things” is usually bad.
Pro: Kids are easy to please.
Kids don’t know what’s awesome and what’s stupid. Sure, they’ll pout and scream about eating vegetables. But it is very easy to mesmerize kids. They are literally interested in everything. The toughest critics in church isn’t going to be the kids. It’s going to be the adults. You can literally give a child a paper bag for Christmas, and they are happy. If I got a paper bag for Christmas, it would be the worst Christmas ever, and I would feel extremely ripped off by baby Jesus. I wasn’t a very good youth pastor. I just had kids who were easy to please.
Pro: Kids are resiliant.
You know, I thought some of the kids in my school were stupid. But no one told me as a kid how much baggage adults have. Really, give up your Legos and dolls, grow up, and half of us will be angry, divorced, addicted, indebted, slobbering messes. I thought when we grew up we were supposed to be able to take care of ourselves. Chances are if there’s something really wrong with a kid, it’s at least partly because an adult in his life is a screw up. You never talk about an eight year old hitting “rock bottom.” That’s adults. All the angry music and violent entertainment kids consume? Made by adults. Adults need to buck up, tuck in that quivering lip, and get over it already, like the kids.
Pro: Kids are forgiving.
Kids will overlook a thousand wrongs. Why? Because they freaking love people. It’s as easy as that. If adults loved each other like kids love us, we wouldn’t have to try so hard to forgive all the petty things that happen to us. We wouldn’t argue over who deserves forgiveness. We’d just forgive. If a kid’s life sucks, they don’t blame their parents. Adults are the only ones who do that.
Pro: Kids don’t ruin every holiday.
Adults, just take a deep breath. Now stop crapping up every fun holiday. Stop arguing about Halloween being “satanic.” Stop trying to make Halloween “sexy” too; it’s pathetic. Stop rushing out on Thanksgiving night to get midnight Black Friday deals. Stop going to the theater on Christmas Day, and spend some dang time talking with your family (and let the theater employees do the same). I don’t know if Hanukkah gets ruined, but if it is, stop it.
Pro: Kids want to be friends.
At the primary school where I used to work, I could walk down the hall and have kids who I didn’t know strike up conversations with me. One kid wanted to show me his new shoes. Another just had to tell me it was her birthday. A kid from that school, who I didn’t know, sat and talked with me at the library last week. Adults put up “No Soliciting” signs on their doors.
Pro: Kids can’t help being stupid and annoying.
If a kid is acting stupid or obnoxious, it’s because they aren’t self aware. Every annoying blight on the planet though is made by adults that should know better, (see: iPhone users, team Jacob, Progressive Insurance commercials, Joy Behar.) Even the really insufferable kids are there because an adult put them there (see: Miranda Cosgrove, Raven Symone, Miley Cyrus).
Con: Kids turn into adults.
This is a disturbing phenomenon. All the kids who are busy bringing joy and laughter to the world right now will, in all likelihood, grow up into cranky, messed up adults who blame the world for all their problems, and spend their lives trying to work out their “daddy issues,” if ever there was a bigger cliche made up by adults.
What have you learned from kids, or what do you think kids can teach adults? Despite the screaming and the poopiness, what do you think Jesus meant when he told the adults that they needed to become like children?