When I wrote about Elder Cook’s talk a few days ago, I mentioned that Heavenly Father has given me an indescribable love and profound regard for children. Sister Jean A. Stevens’ talk reminded me of that love.
I get emotional whenever I see, hear about, or read about children being children. My husband and I went through foster care training classes earlier this year and I cried through just about every class. When I think about or talk about children, I am overcome with a feeling of how precious and sacred little children are. I can barely get through singing the songs in the Children’s Songbook about children. One of my favorite songs is “How Dear To God are Little Children”
How dear to God are little children
With Him their spirit life began
So priceless their security, their innocence and purity
They are a part of His eternal plan.
To earthly parents God sends children
To guide and teach protect and love
Oh let us keep the sacred trust that He has placed with each of us
And help to guide them back to God above.
How dear to God are little children.
Sister Steven’s talk makes it clear exactly why little children are so dear to God. Their innocence and purity is a guide for us to learn from them. We have so much to learn from little children. Too often we think that it is our job to “make” our children “be good.” But Heavenly Father places us on earth as little children so that we can learn from the examples of their innocence and purity. “These precious children of God come to us with believing hearts. They are full of faith and receptive to feelings of the Spirit. They exemplify humility, obedience, and love. They are often the first to love and the first to forgive.”
One of the things I believe most strongly in is the innocence of children. Too often I see mothers who talk about how their children are “trying to make them mad” or “testing them” or their kids want to make life hard for them. What these mothers would do well to realize is that their children are actually perfect, innocent, and precious and it is our job to become like them. The other part of our job is to “guide them back to God above.” But I think that we learn to lead by following. As we learn to become like a child – meek, submissive, humble, and willing to submit to all things – we become better able to lead our children.
“Have some of life’s experiences taken from you the believing heart and childlike faith you once had? If so, look around at the children in your life. And then look again… If we have a heart to learn and a willingness to follow the example of children, their divine attributes can hold a key to unlocking our own spiritual growth.” If we could help children stay like children – if we could help them recognize their divine attributes of meekness, humility, and faith – we might be able to help them grow into much more faithful adults. And we might actually become more faithful adults ourselves.
How do you help children recognize their divine qualities? Do you see the divine in your children, or do you assign “adult” motives to their actions, rather than recognizing their innocence? Do you strive to become more like your children so that you can lead by following their Christ-like examples?