“And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” (Matthew 21:26)
Today as I listened to the conversation between two young children, ages 46 and 25-months-old, I was reminded of their childlike sincerity and total honesty. Yet, no malice. When I would hear the words please and thank you, I was quick to praise them for using such kind words and manners to each other. They seemed to do it more. As the mother of five and grandmother to six I realize this does not happen by accident but through deliberate training on the part of key people in the lives of these children.
As I began to think about what I was hearing and their responses to one another, I realized that these children were not afraid to talk to one another openly and neither felt a threat of retaliation. There was no contention between them and the older one often would assist the younger child, almost instinctively, and if she was unable to, she would request my assistance. There seemed to be a camaraderie between them. I know you’re probably asking, “what planet did those children come from?” My children were not always so compatible either but I learned something today about myself in relation to those around me. I also realize that we learn from each other – good or bad.
What we learn formulates how we communicate and our basic coping skills. Like children, we do not know what we do not know until somewhere along the way someone comes along and exposes us to something other than what we know, again good or bad. It is in this transition that new experiences are grafted into our our lives and our character begins to take shape.
There is an early child development term experts call assimilation and accommodation. For example, if you give an infant a hard rattle, being a brand new experience, they will begin to figure out what the object is and what purpose the object can serve them. As they shake the rattle they hear the sound that is emitted and they learn that rattles make a pleasing noise and this is grafted into their knowledge. All is well with this knowledge and thus far a good experience, until the infant suddenly knocks himself on the head with the rattle, thus causing pain. The infant now associates the rattle with an unpleasant experience and may shy away from that rattle.
When we are in peaceful surroundings and at peace with the God who made us and loves us we can allow our Heavenly Father to flow into our lives and out into the lives around us. We learn to trust Him, which in turn allows us the liberty to trust those around us. I learned something else today. Children are much quicker to forgive, though they may not always quickly forget. When we are wounded by a careless word or traumatized by a tragic event, we are also learning to assimilate these events into our lives and how to accommodate the purpose these adverse circumstances will have in our lives. This in turn becomes what is called our coping skills.
A child who is at peace with himself and his caregivers can learn to relate to others in this same way. There is a sense of confidence – not necessarily their own; but in the adult that is caring for them. They look for our response. They learn to trust their caregiver.
We live in a world that knows no peace outside of a relationship with peace – God Himself. Too often the cares of life, careless words and life’s relentless attacks on our inner peace take us in a new direction. We find ourselves asking right questions but getting wrong answers. We don’t know how to get back to the place of peace we once knew. We begin to venture out on a quest and soon find ourselves in a place we never really intended to be. A series of bad decisions and painful experiences have left us painfully aware of life’s uncertainties. We have been exposed to the enemy. We are brought down in our own strength, but, there is truth to turn it all around. I found God to be true; My God is able and He desires to restore each of us into a vibrant overflowing relationship with Him. He chooses the foolish things to confound the wise and chooses the weak that no man would glory in himself or another but rather that the enemy would be silenced and God’s glory be revealed.
“O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.”
Psalm 8:1-2. The psalmist seeks to give unto God the glory due to his name. How bright this glory shines even in this lower world! He is ours, for he made us, protects us, and takes special care of us. The birth, life, preaching, miracles, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus are known through the world. No name is so universal, no power and influence so generally felt, as those of the Saviour of mankind. But how much brighter it shines in the upper world! We, on this earth, only hear God’s excellent name, and praise that; the angels and blessed spirits above, see his glory, and praise that; yet he is exalted far above even their blessing and praise. Sometimes the grace of God appears wonderfully in young children. Sometimes the power of God brings to pass great things in his church, by very weak and unlikely instruments, that the excellency of the power might the more evidently appear to be of God, and not of man. This he does, because of his enemies, that he may put them to silence.
Adapted from the writing of Linda Brown originally published at Healing Words 247