Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)
Since the beginning of time, young kids have seen the colored tiles—whatever shape they might assume—as an endless playground for the imagination, and an exciting test of their balance and coordination skills.
And the Campbell children are certainly no different!
Walking the mall with any of our youngest kids is never really walking, it’s traversing. It’s an expedition. Through fiery lava, or dangerous waters infested with countless perils and vicious creatures!
The most recent expedition was with Emma, who was more of an athlete than an explorer. Her task at first was to maintain perfect balance across all the colored tiles, but that soon changed to being able to completely clear the four-square blocks, long-jump style! (Which she actually did quite well!)
I could not help but (vividly) recall my childhood, where I was doing the very same thing. And as I’ve said, I can’t think of any one of our children who have not. What is it about our youth that allows us the freedom—that nearly demands that we see life as play?
And better yet, where does that go?
About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”
Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Sometimes we read that and see the part about “turn[ing] from your sins” and that will “get us into” the Kingdom of Heaven. And thus, becoming like little children is perhaps being born again (spiritually), or even maybe being more trusting, having more faith.
But in the context, Jesus was asked who was the greatest, and his answer was someone who might seem like the “least”. What he chose to point out was the humility of a child—which, in contrast to the question raised, sharply reveals the pride of the questioner.
Without pride, we are free to play (no matter what anyone might think of us). Pride is, after all, just our self-given worth. It’s what we imagine ourselves to be, that we usually are not.
Humility, being the opposite—and the quality Jesus said we, like children, should aspire to possess—is not concerned with what others think of us. There is a nearly unshakeable freedom to fully enjoy life as it unfolds before you.
How many of us live like that? Maybe we should.
Maybe I will.
I did that night with Emma. We skipped through parking lots, jumped from tile to tile, and slowly enjoyed every moment as we made the trek through the adventure-land that was our local shopping mall. The joy was definitely in the unpretentious frivolity we were engaging in, but it was also in just being together. Taking interest in each other.
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
If we’re not concerned with us, there’s a lot more room to enjoy the things and the people around us.
Emma sure was. And I bet your kids are pretty good at it, too. As, I’d guess, were you.
Some things never change. Kids will always see the colored tiles in malls as the next great adventure, even if they’ve conquered it before. And, the truth of God’s words, that life in his Kingdom is found when we are humble and unassuming, like little children.
I think it’s time for a stroll through the mall…
Scripture quotes from Matthew 18 and Philippians 2, both from the New Living Translation.