I didn’t dare step out of the shower. It’s a type of force-shield between me and the day that I am likely not ready for.
Still dragging my feet, I went to my scriptures hoping for a surge of energy and wisdom. What I read was simple (as it mostly always is): Become as a child. “Become as little children … becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” Mosiah 3:18-19
Reading about the characteristics of a child prompted me to think about what I know about children and being childlike. This was an interesting twist. On a day I didn’t have it in me to “adult,” Heavenly Father reminded me that’s not what I should be seeking anyway.
As I thought of myself as a child, the weight of the day began lightening. The crushing clutter of plans and expectations simplified. Good, Better and Best options were more easily discerned. I felt more love. Love felt more simple.
I paid attention to the characteristics of my children. I wanted to learn more about these special people who make up the kingdom of God. Through a normal day I observed:
- Children trust
- Children depend
- They are fearless to keep trying
- Sometimes unsure
- Want to feel cherished, not less important than another
- Want time
- Want approval
- Honest with feelings and perspectives
- They need a higher power to work through problems
- It’s OK to cry, it’s OK to feel
- Children delight in simplicity
During my short, intentional observations I realized we are a lot the same. My children have the same needs from me that I have from my Heavenly Father. I want to feel listened to, important, validated. I depend on Him and trust Him. It was comforting to remember myself as a child. I am a child of God, and still in the needy and young stage.
This discovery of “simplicity” carried me through the day. It gave me direction in dealing with the stressors around me. With homeschool, I was reminded to just love my children, keep it simple. It carried me through cleaning and organizing giving me courage to part with things, delight in simplicity.
10 years ago, when Ollie was two, we were living in Gainseville, Ga. On Sundays Ollie would go to a two-hour nursery class led by Sister Mildred Emmerson. Sister Emmerson was asked to teach these little toddlers every week for one year. This meant that she would not be mingling with the other adults or attending adult classes. It may have been a sacrifice, but she agreed to the calling.
She approached her opportunity with a teachable and humble heart. “God has something he wants me to learn from these children,” I remember her saying. Every week she taught, respected and loved these small children. Every week she wrote down what was learned in class.
At the end of the year, each child was presented with their very own nursery scrapbook. It included pictures she had taken, songs she wanted them to remember, and notes from each lesson. At the end of the book she included a list of things she had learned from the children including, “Little children don’t need many possessions. We seem to want more. Some imagination and a piece of cardboard or string are all it takes.”
As a parent, I appreciated her dedication to my child. As I continue on my journey toward Christ, my appreciation has grown for her example to intentionally learn from children. She understood you have to know a child to become like a child.
I am grateful for the scriptures that reminded me to be like a child. I am grateful for a day with five children around me who reminded me what it means to be childlike. And, I’m grateful for Sister Emmerson, for her intentional teaching and intentional learning – and for the now-tattered scrapbook.
“If I look at the children and remember who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, my faith increases and I see the value of a child. I see the pure strength, pure love, pure innocence.” – Sister Emmerson