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We are in our third day of Vacation Bible School and I am reminded again of the sheer joy and enthusiasm children have for a positive message and upbeat music.  I love watching little eyes open wide as they hear a Bible story and little bodies wiggle and shake to the beat while singing catchy songs about God’s love.

Ask a question or ask for a personal story in an adult group and it’s like pulling teeth to get a response.  Ask the same thing of children and they can come up with an example or a relevant experience for any topic in seconds.  (Well, maybe not always that relevant but that doesn’t stop them.)  They are so primed to hear, learn and believe.

Last night on the way home in the car I was playing the cd from VBS and I saw my granddaughter, Brinkley, plugging her ears and looking distressed.  I turned down the music and asked what the problem was and she responded, “I don’t want to ruin the surprise.”  The explanation was some of the songs on the cd we hadn’t yet used at VBS and she wanted them to newly experience them with all of the rest of the kids when when we did play them.  She wanted them to be fresh.

Don’t you sometimes long for the time when God’s word was fresh and new and stirred the kind of excitement that made you wiggle all over?  And don’t you wish you still had that childlike acceptance of His promises and assurances?  No doubts, no analyzing, no hesitancy?

What would it take to go back?  Here are my ideas.  I’d love to hear yours.

1)     Get small.  The best thing about kids is they are humble.  They don’t think they know everything and they aren’t afraid to admit it.  They are kids and are fully willing to accept that fact.  They aren’t afraid someone else will think they’re weird or a nerd if they sing loud, move to the beat, clap their hands or laugh when they feel like it.  If we could only let go of our adult when it comes to God things and let Him thrill us and give us wide open eyes experiences.  If we could only stop trying to impress and instead be transparent and open to delight like a child.

2)    Get fun-focused.  The next best thing about kids is they think everything should be fun.  If it’s not fun to start with they will make it fun.  They laugh at serious things.  They dance when decorum is called for. They love hand motions, facial expressions and drama.  Ever thought of getting a scripture memorized by adding hand motions, dance steps or facial expressions to help cement it in your brain?  You might try it.  I’ve learned more scripture by helping with events like VBS thanI have sitting and reading it over and over in an adult manner!

3)    Get bold.  I have two or three kids at VBS who raise their hand the minute a question is asked.  They don’t know the answers but they know a response is called for so they respond.  They take a stab at it and they get recognized for it.  I always call on them because I want to encourage them to keep trying.  Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there even if you aren’t sure of the answer.  Once in a while you hit it and those are treasured moments. Other times, you recognize what you don’t know and you listen better.

4)    Get trusting.  Kids have experienced grief, disappointment, anger, pain, and broken hearts – just like adults.  We tend to disregard the seriousness of those events because they involve not getting invited to a party, not getting to have a dog when you’ve begged and begged and begged, or stubbing a toe and wanting to show off your scar.  So far I haven’t had a child share in class that they don’t believe God loves them because of their painful situation.  They trust that they are lovable and they believe God loves them if you tell them so.  The next time you are in pain or turmoil and a Christian friend tells you God loves you, chose to believe with the untainted trust of a child.  It’s true.  You know it’s true.  Just because you’ve heard it a million times doesn’t make it any less true or any less wonderful.  Let the words make you want to wiggle and shout every time you hear them.

My last piece of advice – get involved with children who are learning about God.  When you do, consider them the teachers and you the student.  Watch, participate, get silly, get open.  The greatest lesson you may learn is immaturity when it comes to accepting what the Bible says.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14

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