Start Being a Child

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

One of the most charming things about children is that they have such a great outlook.

I saw this recently while riding the bus to work. I sat down next to a woman with a little girl on her lap who looked up at me and said, smiling, "These are my books. Do you like books?"

A little startled, I answered, "Uh, yes, they're fun."

The bright-eyed girl proudly showed me her collection of books, which included "Hercules."

At the next stop, another woman with a little daughter in tow boarded and sat down near us. The two girls noticed each other. The second one was gnashing on a bagel, and the girl next to me said to her mother, "I love bagels." That prompted the other girl to tear a chunk off her bagel, reach over a couple of passengers, and offer it.

This made a big impression on me. Adults usually look to other adults for lessons on how to live; but kids might just be the best role models. After all, don't kids usually seem to be happy and to make those around them feel good?

This free and joyous attitude is directly related to their view of the world. They greet everybody as a friend, living up to the Golden Rule of loving others as ourselves. They don't start wars, don't worry about fame or wealth, don't worry whether food offered by a stranger might be poisoned or have germs.

In essence, little children see the world more closely to the way that God created it - as a pure, innocent, good place. And holding that perspective does you and me more good than we might think. When I had first gotten on that bus, most of the passengers had been quiet and solemn, their eyes buried in newspapers or staring vacantly out the windows. After the two girls started talking, the passengers looked at them and suddenly had smiles on their faces.

Innocence is a big reason why little kids think and act lovingly. Their minds aren't cluttered by mundane things that adults often get bogged down with. For example, the night before a trip to the state fair, a child would probably think about how much fun it will be riding ponies, playing in hay, and eating cotton candy. An adult, on the other hand, might turn on the television to see if there's rain in the forecast.

We can't forget our responsibilities and act immaturely. But a pure and loving attitude that stems from spiritual understanding can help bring wonderful healing and happiness to our lives. This is something Jesus Christ told the world almost 2,000 years ago.

The Gospels are full of guidance Jesus gave on how to live with a childlike outlook. To do this, and to see it lead to effective healing, we need most of all to love what is good. This is loving God. If we love God totally, that means we recognize the spiritual as everything (even if it doesn't seem easy). Jesus said, "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.... But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:25, 33).

We will not concern ourselves with imperfections and flaws if we can see the qualities of God expressed in individuals and situations, and can know that these good qualities embody reality and power. For example, when Jesus was told there were only two fish and five loaves with which to feed thousands, he didn't worry that there was not enough food. Instead, he gave thanks to God. And suddenly there was more than enough food for everybody (see John 6:5-13).

Such childlike thinking has the power of God and can heal all types of human problems, including those relating to health, relationships, and financial conditions. The Christian Science textbook says, "Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures," Pgs. 323-324).

So often people say, "The happiest days of my life were when I was a child." Those times don't have to remain distant. Being a "child" of God has nothing to do with age. It involves gaining concepts of God that inspire and heal, bringing deep joy to you and the people around you.

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