Posted tagged ‘misbehaving children’

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.