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Like a Child: Qualities That Adults Should Emulate

In many parts of the world, children are seen as dispensable and unimportant. You may have heard it said that children should be seen, not heard. However, in the Bible, in Matthew 18:2-4 (KJV), it says, “And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever, therefore, shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” These verses are saying that children are so important to Jesus, that He has made being like one a requirement for people to go into heaven!  Although there are characteristics of children that we should absolutely not imitate (to be discussed in another post), there are several that absolutely should be a part of most, if not all, of an adult’s character as well. These following traits of most children are what can make our lives more joyful and fulfilling:

  1. The wonder/awe of a child.—As a sales associate, I get to see children on almost a daily basis. Although some of them do things that most adults may seem annoying, I love the awe and the curiosity that many children have. They love to learn and explore new and different things.  This attitude is essential for adults to have as well. For instance, I try to have the wonder and awe of a child when I am learning a new task at work.  When people lose their sense of awe and wonder at their job, their performance usually suffers because they no longer care about what and how they are doing. These people aren’t willing to try or learn new things.  When we have the wonder of a child, we are more open to be able to learn new things.
  2. The creativity of a child.—Most children are very creative because of their wonder and awe of everything around them. They love to create and learn new things. I know this was true of me as a child as well. When I was disciplined and had to do a quiet activity like reading or writing, instead of doing something more fun, I used to write little stories about the world around me and/or the world in my head. A lot of children when asked to draw their family, for example, have very creative ways of expressing their families and how they look like to them. Creativity is also essential for adults. Because we have more life experience, having the creativity of a child coupled with this experiential wisdom can help us grow as people because we can constantly do things more efficiently and/or look at things from different perspectives. Looking at things from different angles, as opposed to being closed-minded, can help adults be more unified with one another and with children in a positive way, and can help us understand others better.
  3. The trust of a child—that they see the best in others.—When I was very young, I was very trusting of others. Yes, this could have been a problem when people wanted to take advantage of me, but all in all, the faith of a child is beautiful because it sees the best in others. Unless severely abused, most children are not cynical or suspicious of others.  They see the best in others. This was true of me as well.  For instance, when I didn’t see or hear Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, I did not suspect that my parents were lying about him, but that he must have come in quietly or that he was just delayed.  However, as I got older and had more life experience, that trust of others quickly ebbed away. However, I would like to regain the trust of others that I had as a child, seeing the best in others, because being cynical and negative about others creates friction and is not a good way to live. When I don’t trust others, I cannot bond with and love them the way that I need to in order to sustain a lasting relationship with them. When someone wrongs me, but I still strive to see the good in them, I create an atmosphere of grace, instead of judgment and condemnation that is so often created when one is wronged by another. Having the trust of a child can help one spiritually as well. For instance, I believe in the goodness and the faithfulness of God. However, when I fail to trust God as I believe I should, my spiritual life and my mood suffer.
  4. The innocence of a child.—Very young children typically don’t curse others (unless it is a regular occurrence in their home) and they usually aren’t allowed to see some of the evil that adults often do. Some parents don’t allow their children to see certain movies or television shows because they want to preserve the innocence of that child.  When the innocence of a child is shattered, usually by abuse or being exposed to certain evils that are beyond their grasp, these children are scarred forever. These things not only take away their sense of innocence but also their trust in others and the world around them.  However, when a child’s innocence is allowed to remain for an appropriate period of time, I believe that they are more likely to be well-adjusted and have a positive view of the world around them.  Although most of us adults have seen enough evils of the world not to be able to have the absolute innocence of a child, I believe we can regain some of it back by choosing not to participate in some of the things we believe are evil in the world around us. For instance, I see rape culture as not only degenerating to people but also as evil. This is why I will not watch movies, listen to music, or read books that glorify rape or the treatment of people as objects.  When we regain some of our childlike innocence, we can begin to have a more positive impact on this world.

These are some of the qualities of children that adults should emulate. If we had the wonder and awe, the creativity, the trust, and the innocence of a child, I believe that this world would be a better and more productive place in which to live.  What are some childlike qualities that you, as an adult, want to imitate today? If you have children, what qualities do you see in them, would you like to incorporate in your own character? Please feel free to discuss this in comments

13 thoughts on “Like a Child: Qualities That Adults Should Emulate”

  1. Children are amazing little beings before the world influences them too much, eh? They are still amazing, of course, and it would be a gift if their child-like perspectives could last. ❤️

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  2. This is one of my favorite accounts in the bible. Keep in mind what was going on when Jesus made this statement…his disciples were arguing among themselves as to who of them would be the greatest in his father’s (Jehovah’s) Kingdom. They were imperfect and were having trouble grasping certain qualities even after being with Jesus for close to three years. For example, grown ups can be prideful whereas children are most often timid and submissive which epitomizes the godly quality of humility. A small child is also willing to learn whereas adults are usually to prideful to ask questions (or maybe feel embarrassed doing so) so they inadvertently refrain from learning…something we are encouraged to do as adults especially when it comes to learning as much as possible about Creator and his Son. That’s the quality of being teachable. Plus, little ones do not take a superior view of themselves or seek prominence. Jesus loved his disciples and did not berate them but rather lovingly taught them that they too, needed to develop this proper view of themselves, using that illustration to drive home the important point on being humble.

    Beautiful illustration indeed 😉

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    1. I totally agree with you, Coralice! We adults should continue learning ad infinitum and not think we know it all already. Learning gives us some purpose in life.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this post, and I always say how I wish we were more as children. We grow up and loose that sense wonder, innocence, kindness, etc…

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  4. So true! We really lose our child-like qualities when we become adults! I wish I allowed myself to be as creative and trusting as I was when I was younger!

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  5. I really love this post. It’s very true. The kingdom of God belongs to only a person who humbles himself as a little child. There’s a lot of character and behavior we need to learn from our children if we really want to enter God’s Kingdom.

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