Have you ever met someone who does not like children? Maybe you can think of a grouchy, old curmudgeon of a neighbor, growing up. Certainly there are none of those people in Delano!
I am reminded of the movie, “The Sand Lot.” It is a story about a group of young boys who gather to play baseball on hot summer days.
Near the park where they play lives a grumpy man with a beast for a dog. One day, as they’re playing, one of the boys hits the ball into this man’s yard. After a chase by the dog, they end up confronting the old man and befriending him (and his dog). They get their baseball back and make a new friend in the process.
I am reminded how this story breaks down the perceptions people often have toward each other. Both the old man and the young boys become friends through a chance encounter. It is in this story that I see how God’s love shines through the walls we put up.
There is innocence to the way children laugh, play, and love, and it is probably why Jesus told us “whoever becomes humble like [a] child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:4)
A child’s zest for life invigorates our lives and we share in that when we are surrounded by children. It is why sentimental childhood stories, like “The Sand Lot” can speak to a deeper level.
As I watched my daughter innocently play in a splash pool this past week, she became so excited by the simplest things. A jet of water would squirt into the air and she would run over to me, babbling and pointing with great excitement.
I watched other parents and their children at play, and there was one thing in common around that pool everyone was smiling. Kids were laughing, giggling, and splashing as parents and grandparents smiled and encouraged their young ones.
There were some parents who paused for a moment of discipline, but even in those moments, the joy and love was still present. The excitement was contagious, and it illustrated how much adults have to learn from the enthusiasm of the young.