Each time I see a child’s sparkling eyes, hear the innocence of youthful laughter, or watch kids at the playground, I am taken back to a time filled with great memories, moments of discovery, and a time where anything was possible. It is not as if everything I remember was perfect. Rather it is in the mist of the daily uncertainty and chaos that there was time and place where two individuals were trying to find their way as they discovered new things about others as well as themselves.
As I consider what I see, I am struck by the hope I find within because of the children and their view of life. In many cases, it reflects the hope I find in talking with their parents. There are themes that I find in each.
Everything happens in the moment. It is not about the past or the future, the bills to pay or schoolwork waiting to be done. The focus, joy, and hope is found in kids at play, having fun in all its forms, and even in drama of dealing with something that hurts.
Things start and end with the kids, even when it is an activity with adults involved. The reminder centers on the language and interactions, not the activity. Sports, riding a bicycle, and swinging are the same regardless of age. The reminder is in the words one uses, the abandon one brings, and the ability to enjoy the moment for what it is.
Parents are fully present yet aware of everything around them. They protect while they play. They are on guard as they laugh and talk. They help and guide even as the encourage and participate. They are part of the kid’s world even as they remain in their own.
The outcome is, for me, a gift. With parents, I want to help them recognize that their gifts are amazing, that “their children robust on the earth, and the homes of the upright – how blessed!” (Psalm 112.02)
To the kids, thank-you for your laughter and living examples; reminders all.