Their childhood pleas to play with dirt, make stone soup, or collect bugs are a far cry from my traveling days as a consultant. By nature, I like order, organization, quiet, and structure, but childhood is rarely any of those things. It is loud, messy, and chaotic, at times. It is spontaneous, imaginative, filled with wonder and creativity.
Childhood is beautiful.
But sometimes, in my need for order, I forget to appreciate it. Or worse, I long to stifle it, to quiet it as much as possible.
It is in these days that I share with our precious children that I am reminded of the need to let go, to live, to embrace the messy parts of life. I am reminded that there is far more to a home than clean floors and countertops and perfectly organized toys.
It is in the midst of it all, in the rambunctious messiness, where learning and relationships grow. It is deep in childhood play, where their brains and understanding of the world develop. It is in love that their souls are nurtured with goodness and truth.
And so, I’m learning to say yes more. “Yes” to markers and paints and homemade dough. “Yes” to glitter and random science experiments, to baking together and cooking and cleaning side by side. “Yes” to bubble baths multiple times a day, building castles and forts, and dancing in the rain.
I know, there is a time for order and structure. . . and oftentimes, I feel the pressure of throwing them into the “current” of busyness, the chaos of activities and events that our world says they need to be a part of in order to “keep up.” But I truly believe there needs to be time to just play–without the rules and a referee. There needs to be time for them to make the rules and to learn how to “referee” and problem solve. There needs to be time to just be. To think, to draw, or be bored. There needs to be time for childhood.
Childhood in and of itself is so very short, and the world is so bent on pulling our children in every direction–keeping them busy, distracted, and passive. The battle for these formative years is being pushed earlier and earlier with each passing generation. But I don’t want to be a part of that rush. I want to protect their childhood–the innocence, the creativity, the spontaneity of it all.
I pray that I can soak in this season, the excitement, the laughter, the bubbles, and crayon markings. I pray that in His grace, I can see the beauty rather than the struggles.
For there is always beauty. Always.
It’s about savoring the journey. Right here. Right now.
So today, I said yes.
Today, they are squealing with joy as they run and dance in the rain, tongues out, trying to catch each and every drop.
And as the small voice in my head tries to sneak in, the one warning me of muddy shoes and dripping clothes, I stop it in its tracks.
I laugh and squeal with them, arms in the air, finding joy in the downpour, in the laughter, in every single part of who they are.
And I do my best to capture it all . . . every single last drop.
(Jesus) said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. -Mark 10:14-16