4 things YOU can learn from toddlers about Your relationship with God!

When we think about the children in our lives, our minds often turn to how much we can teach them. From the pragmatic skills of reading and tying their laces to the more conceptual lessons on sharing and being honest, there is an abundance of examples that we want them to follow.

But while our enthusiasm to instruct them and expose them to new experiences is necessary and should be encouraged, we can find ourselves neglecting what they can teach us. In Matthew 18:2-6, we read: “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'”

What Jesus said reminds us that we also have a lot to learn from the little ones in our lives. Here are four things they’re pretty good at teaching us to do.

Be needy
Only a few of us will readily admit that we’re quite needy. But truth be told, we all are. We don’t find it easy to function without relying on at least one other person, no matter how hard we try, because we’re not designed to live that way.

When their legs get tired, children reach out their arms to an adult to carry them the rest of the way. Make a habit of metaphorically or literally reaching out your arms to God when you’re in need. Don’t wait until all your spiritual fatigued before you do.

Be humble
How hard do you find it to be humble? Because we live in a society where we’re bombarded with people bragging, we can become even more susceptible to doing it ourselves.

Children lack an awareness of the social structures that are imposed on us as adults so they don’t view anything as beneath them or see themselves as above others. Don’t let social barriers prevent you from interacting with anyone regardless of their professional or lifestyle choices, and make an effort to ensure your communications are about more than show-and-tell.

Fear less
As adults, we all know too well how fear can stop us from achieving our potential. Even though God tells us hundreds of times not to be afraid, it’s still something we battle with.

Although children can develop fears as they mature, so much of their spirit reveals an eagerness to take risks. No chair is too high to climb, no photo call has them squirming inside and hoping you get their best angle (or making you try 10 times if you don’t). We can all do with taking a page out of their book and being a little more fearless.

Be resilient
Our fears often materialise because we devote a lot of time worrying about the possible consequences of our actions or choices. For example, if we’ve had a bad experience being honest with a friend, we can be afraid of doing it again.

On the other hand, children are experts in picking themselves back up again and giving things another try. One, three or fifteen falls in the playground don’t stop them from giving running a go. Don’t let a bad experience stop you from doing something that’s significant in your spiritual development.

-A. Franncis