Layton is a new friend of mine. She is two years old and everything in life is a new adventure for her. Layton and her mom and dad are new neighbors of ours and we are delighted to have them as new friends.
Layton and I made instant friends (some say I’m at the two year old level myself so I get along with children) when we met. We picked some “flowers” (dandy lions, which are “flowers” but the kind it’s OK to pick) and enjoyed each other immensely. Yesterday afternoon as I arrived home I saw Layton and her mom walking down the street so after putting my satchel away I came back with Tucker to greet them and chat with them. Layton was wearing a bright pair of pink rubber boots for walking in the wet grass and she was pulling a yellow plastic snow toboggan down the grass behind her. I hollered out “Hey, I lost a pair of pink boots, have you seen them” to Layton. She walked closer and looked down at her boots and looked back at me puzzled. Turning to Tucker, she said “Hi Tucker” and looked back at me saying “Hi Bob”. She clearly didn’t get my pink boots joke but she went right on and turned me back to her agenda and her interests. We went on to talk for a long time, about important things like where the yellow flowers went. I got in her yellow toboggan and said “Pull me, I want to go for a sled ride”. She decided it might work better if she got in and I pulled her instead. She was right. I took her for a sled ride. We then ended up getting a ball, finding “Miss Mary” (it’s Miss Mary but Bob to me), walking down into the back yard, sitting by the fire pit, playing with Tucker and then Layton said “Bye Bob”. I guess our play date was over.
I share this as a way or reminding all of us how precious, how straightforward, how delightful children are. Jesus loved children as well. He said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14). Everyone is busy, over busy these days, but we can always make time for children. It’s not only an investment in the future but a life renewing time for our own spirit. I felt so good, so relaxed, so happy after my time with Layton that all of life’s problems and stresses were put “on hold” at least for awhile. Time spent with children is time well spent…on all counts.
In part because I love children so much it gives me no amount of sadness that our Sunday School has become of such little importance to so many of our parents that while we have three faithful teachers who show up prepared to teach their class almost every Sunday there are few students in one, and usually no students in the other two. But, God love those teachers, they show up, ready to go anyway. Week after week, Sunday after Sunday our teachers come ready to hold class in case anyone shows up. What’s up with our society these days? In talking with our Insurance Agent yesterday he mentioned to me that in going out to the churches the company insures week after week he hears from one after church after the other that Sunday School is gone or almost gone in no small part because youth sports have taken over the Sunday morning time slot in people’s lives. Let me know how that works out in twenty years would you? I have no doubt that the huge investment in time, priority, commitment and money that parents are making in sports leagues for their children will prove out in the long haul. Personally, I’d choose Sunday School. Oh, that’s right, I already did. What’s your decision?