Two Minute Meditations

Too Much Too Soon?

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Children possess an innocence and naïveté which makes them precious. They look at life's complex situations so simply, yet insightfully. Unfortunately these attributes lead us to assume children are full grown people in small bodies. This past week revealed our danger in being so deceived.

The carefree bounce, the alluring freedom, the precious smile of Jessica Dubroff captured our hearts. She possessed the innocence, naïveté, and the lighthearted joy of a child in love with life, learning, and discovery. She flew with the wind, trusting others more experienced with life to hold the string which made her kite soar while keeping her safely tethered -- free to enjoy life, yet guided not controlled in her joy. Tragically, it seems, no one was there to guide and tether her with the protection and gentle wisdom for such childhood exuberance.

Jessica's journey is a stark reminder, a bitter metaphor, of childhood lost -- lost not to death, but to adulthood come too soon.

Gone are childhood games, replaced by the maddening frenzy of parents pushing children to excel instead of play. Yes we live in a competitive age. Yes toughness is necessary to survive in our dog eat dog world. But the forced abandonment of childhood in the name of strength, or for fear of thwarting expression, is as sickening as it is destructive. Children must not be left to make adult decisions before they reach the age where they can think abstractly!

Our hearts must go out to Jessica's family and the families of her father and her flight instructor. But our hearts must also go out to all the other children who never get to be children. Before we get too sanctimonious in our condemnation of the adults in Jessica's life, let's reexamine the decisions we make about our own children. If we are shocked at the callousness of today's youth, let's also examine our own behavior which asks them to be big people in little bodies instead of children. Let's vow to let childhood be more than a look at culture past. Let's let our children be children while there is still a child in them left to enjoy it!

Jesus called us to be like children, not to ask children to be adults! He said, "Anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Then he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Can we dare do less? (Mark 10:15-16)

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