Posted tagged ‘childlike’

Dancing Grandkids

November 26, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                      November 26, 2017


When the music starts our three grandkids start gyrating! Uninhibited, and often bordering on spasmodic, they dust the wood floor in the living room with their socked feet.

On Thanksgiving Day, after feasting on casseroles, turkey, rolls, and pie they took to center stage and worked off dinner to the music of Imagine Dragons “Thunder.” The oldest, Jesse, throws himself around like a balloon that is losing air. He puts all of himself into it, sometimes on his feet and other times on his belly or back.

Reagan, the middle child, leans towards “princess ballerina” moves, graceful and calculated. She keeps her distance from her brother’s widespread routine and slows down the pace to savor each moment.

Corin, the two year old, moves her hips like a hula dancer. She goes from standing to falling to standing to falling. For someone her age she has potential…if she can stay clear of her brother’s spinning legs!

They twirl and spin, creating as they go. The audience of grandparents, parents, aunt and uncles watch from the safety of couches and chairs, applauding the effort and energy.

There’s something about kids and dancing that is renewing. It reminds the older audience of days long past when they also swayed and swung to music with no thought of throwing their backs out or breaking an ankle. And so we stand in awe punctuated with chuckles at some new twist in the midst of a series of twists and turns.

Dancing grandkids is a glimpse into the joy of heaven, unreserved delight and total commitment.

Jesus gave us a picture of the importance of being childlike in our living a life of faith when he said “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:17, NIV)

Think dancing kids caught up in the rhythm of life.

Jesus is telling us, “Look at your children! Watch them! Learn from them! Dance life with them!” Some of us reply with the excuse, “Lord, I don’t know how to dance!”

And Jesus says, “That’s your problem! You still think dancing is a series of steps and haven’t learned that dancing is an attitude and a release.”

Next time perhaps I’ll dance with the grandkids, but today I’ll simply dance through life.

The Quandary of Little Kids

April 11, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                             April 11, 2017


Jesus loved kids. In fact, he told the grown-ups that they needed to be more like kids if they wanted to enter the kingdom of God. There’s a situation that happens in the gospels that gives us some understanding of Jesus’ thinking. His disciples are trying to keep kids away from him. “Sorry, kids! No children’s story today! Beat it!” The people who brought the kids, who we can assume are the parents, would have been a little taken back by that, I’m sure. All they want, according to Matthew 19:13, is for Jesus to place his hands on their children and pray for them. We’re not talking photo op here!

Jesus sees what is happening and Matthew 19:14 gives his reaction. He says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

     Jesus following was not to be exclusive, but inclusive.

A few days ago a restaurant a news story went national about a restaurant in Mooresville, North Carolina that banned children under five from dining there. Caruso’s had a number of customers complain about children being disruptive and affecting their fine dining experience. Since banning young kids business has improved greatly.

I hear the concern, and yet I wonder how Jesus would have reacted. The closest thing to a fine dining experience we read about in the gospels is Jesus eating with tax collectors and prostitutes. He also tells a parable about a banquet, where those who wouldn’t be invited to anything become the invited because of the refusal of others. Children aren’t mentioned in either story, but Jesus always had a thing for those whom the culture had minimized and considered of little value.

The quandary that people have about little children is that they…they…make noise when adults are trying to converse, or enjoy their martinis, or watch NFL football. Let’s face it! We like to be in control, and little kids haven’t learned that the world doesn’t revolve around them…because we think it revolves around us!

Okay, maybe that was harsh! But there is some truth in that statement. I’m sitting in Starbucks on my usual counter stool as I write this. Sometimes when a parent comes in with a couple of pre-schoolers the whole atmosphere of the place changes…and that’s okay!

Recently all of our family, ten of us, were flying back from San Diego after a great family vacation with our kids, son-in-laws, and grandkids. Our two year old granddaughter had a couple of meltdowns on the flight home. I’m sure some of the passengers were annoyed, and my guess is that a few of them thought that little kids shouldn’t be allowed on planes, but I’ve met a number of adults who also act like two year olds, and those are the ones who should be grounded!

The restaurant in North Carolina is just one of many that has ruled out little children. Part of the reasoning is that there are parents who bring their children, and it seems like the kids are the ones who are in control; and there are parents who think their kids can do no wrong, even when they are setting the place on fire! With different philosophies about parenting there comes conflict and unrest. That was evident when we took our grandkids to Legoland outside of San Diego.

What a quandary! Is there a Jesus’ solution? Is it as simple as having adults not play in the McDonald’s play areas and kids not going to upscale restaurants? No, nothing is that simple. What is evident is that we like to create our personal comfort zones that are void of distractions and nuisances. In a culture that trumpets diversity most of us expect things around us to be homogenous. We want to hang around with people that are like us.

What would Jesus do? I think he’d probably have a picnic in a wide-open park where anyone could come! He’d be someplace where he could bless people, not separated from them.

Watching Pre-Schoolers

June 11, 2014

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                  June 11, 2014


        (Today’s writing assignment was to watch something, or a group of people, and write about what you saw. The twist was to attempt to write it without using adverbs.)


They come with sagging diapers, perplexed facial expressions, and short attention spans.

This morning I was watching a group of pre-schoolers at our Vacation Bible School be dazzled by the play parachute. The wonder on little faces, the squeals of delight. One two year old screamed through a wide smile. His happiness was erupting like a volcano.

A three year old girl scooted away from the little boy who was standing too close to her. She examined her sparkled shoes to make sure they were still attached to her feet, and then she allowed herself to laugh.

The woman in the middle used all of her faculties to keep the attention of the distracted. Her voice became gentle and then excited. It worked…for most of them.

One little boy who had just turned two became a balloon whose air was spitting out. in the midst of an instruction off he went. One of the leaders would corral him for a moment longer.

Pre-schoolers are sometimes like chickens with their heads cut off, colliding with one another…trains unable to yield.

And then I saw the faces of a couple of pre-school moms who were there watching. They were even more delighted than their offspring, seeing the gifts that God had blessed their lives with, the cherub faces of children who are lost in the moment.

Freckles, Zits, Warts, and Age Spots

May 22, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                               May 22, 2013

Hitting 59 has made me more conscious of my slowness, morning aches, evening exhaustion, and the multiplying of pill bottles. When I look in the mirror I notice a couple of warts that weren’t always there, but have grown in prominence as I’ve clicked off the years.

The last year of your fifties makes you think of what has been and where you have been. When I was growing up in Winchester, Kentucky I was graced with some freckles on my face. I was actually cute, especially when I was missing a few teeth in the midst of freckled cheeks. Freckles were signs an imaginative childhood. I played with imaginary friends, or even played football against an invisible defense, scoring touchdowns on two yard dives in my backyard. Freckles were child-like, not childish.

A few years later, about the time when it was no longer cool to be cute, pimples started sprouting up on my face like mysterious dandelions in spring lawns. I discovered Clearasil and other products that were suppose to ease the uncomfortableness of adolescence.

Zits were a sign of not knowing whether I was still a child or had emerged into the beginnings of adulthood. It was that time when I wasn’t sure what was going on in my life. I wanted parental closeness, while at the same time keeping some distance. My dad lost some of his intelligence. I insulted my mom’s fried chicken. I wanted to be somebody, and yet I often felt like a nobody. I had a humorous streak about me, but I also was painfully short. Dreams of who I might grow up to be were being shattered. I missed the days of being a child, but knew that I was speeding towards a time of more responsibility.

And now, years later, I look in the mirror and only see trace of the freckles and a couple of little scars from the effects of teenage zits. The warts now stand out. I’m suppose to now have it all together. Experience echoes through my facial imperfections. Although people tell me that I don’t look my age, no one is approaching me to go to a rock concert at Red Rocks, or inviting me to watch Monday Night Football at Buffalo Wild Wings.

I am now a picture of maturity, and I’m about as comfortable with it as I was with youthful blemishes. Oh, it isn’t that I don’t want to be responsible. It is more that I often feel burdened…weighed down by the expectations of others. I want to be able to make mistakes, but I’m often viewed as someone who isn’t allowed to make mistakes.

And yet my warts also tell me that I’m in that phase of life when people want to know what I think, where they will often take their lead from me. There is some sense of gratification that goes with that sprinkled over the mass of responsibility.

I’m just around the corner from the next phase called “age spots.” Sometimes they appear like someone took a red marker to the face. Other times they emerge as little pre-cancerous spots. In fact, I’ve already had a few frozen off by my physician. My dad has undergone two sets of radiation treatments for cancerous spots on his ear and nose.

Age spots are a sign that I’ve gone from being a learner to a leader to a mentor. More of my time will be spent in coffee conversations and quiet reflection. I’ll start collecting letters, photos, and other indications of a lived life. I feel valued as a result of people asking me what I think, as opposed to pressing my opinions. There is soundness in “elders” being respected in the church.

Freckles, zits, warts, and age spots. It seems that there are many parallels between those facial stages and a person’s spiritual development. Dare I also say there are many parallels also with a church’s life stage.

We go from childlike energy and optimism to youthful uncertainty; living out our faith responsibly to passing on the soundness of our beliefs to the next generation.

Chaos appears when we confuse life phases; when a pimpled church tries to pretend it is certain and unyielding in it’s statement of belief, or a warted congregation is childish in it’s actions and attitudes.

A church that is healthy is one that is allowing each of it’s participants to live in the period of faith that they are in.