Children as Teachers of Peace
Children are such wonderful, innocent, loving, trusting members of the human familiy. Yes, I know they can be naughty, too, but a lot of my mission experience was with children. I want to call on those experiences, that I'm sure you have had, too.
Children taught me a lot about God's Love.
Watch them play sometime. They engage with other children. They can quarrel and make up and move on with much more facility than adults. Have you ever stopped a fight on the playground and been surprised to see the two protagonists arm in arm a few minutes later, as if nothing ever happened.
Children taught me a lot about myself, too.
Sometimes, I felt they were like the Holy Spirit. They are like a whisper. You won't hear a thing, if you don't listen carefully. Sometimes, I had to be so gentle, because even a look would inhibit the spontaneity of some children. Teachers need to be so gentle. A severe "school teacher" look can stop a child who was only exploring a new way of doing something.
I learned from children that everybody blossoms with praise. Maybe a First Grader has only managed to make a few letters without going off the line, but he will keep on trying, if you show him he has made even one letter beautiful.
They are trusting and expect fairness, too. Not long ago, I was sitting at a table with a child and her aunt. The child wanted to go and play, but she hadn't eaten very much. Auntie said, "Take two more bites. Then you can go."
Bravely, the little girl picked up the spoon, and took a bite, then another. She waited. When auntie didn't say anything, the child said. "I took two more bites."
Children seem to understand peacemaking. I wish adults could learn how children make peace. I'm sure many of you have seen a child make peace, with a sibling, with an adult who is impatient, or with a teacher who wants perfection.
Let's share our stories. Maybe we can gather some right here.