Have you ever noticed how easily toddlers learn to recognize and say the name “Jesus”?
When we took Patrick to Temple Square this week he was amazed to see full size versions of the paintings of Christ’s life that we have in our home as well. He’s drawn to his “Jesus Book”… and was just as drawn to those paintings. Even more, he couldn’t resist the urge to get right up close to the statue of Christ found in the Temple Square visitors center. Sure, there was an added appeal in the fact that the acoustics of the room are best standing right at Christ’s feet.. but his face showed that there was something more, as well.
Sometimes.. ok… most times… being mom to an active, strong-willed and yet medically fragile times is exhausting. And yet, there are moments when he shows me how I should be.
Like his excitement when he sees Jesus.
Or his friendliness. I don’t shop or sit in waiting rooms or eat in a restaurant or walk down a hall even without seeing the other people there anymore. Patrick introduces us.
Or his determination. This morning in the bathtub he wouldn’t get out until he had fully mastered the task of putting a lid onto a bottle.
Or his obedience. Ok, we still struggle with this one. But I beamed with pride last night when I crossed the street for something and looked back to see Patrick standing on the curb saying “Haa, haa. Ro.” (Hand, hand. Road.) He knew he wasn’t allowed to step into the road without holding my hand, had gone as far as he could, and stopped because he knew he should.
Or his trust in me. Your average toddler would not submit willingly, let alone try to hold still, while laying on a pillow on the floor, hands restrained in a blanket with mom’s leg across his lap while mom, in sterile gloves and mask, scrubs his chest with disinfectants and changes a central line dressing. Not to mention his patience for labwork, IV pokes, and any myriad of other uncomfortable and scary procedures.
Christ taught, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3–4).”
He also said, “Suffer little children to come unto me . . . for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:16).
Children teach us to be more christlike, more holy, more pure. We are counselled to become “as a child submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mosiah 3:19)
And, in loving a child, we learn to understand our Heavenly Father’s love for us.
Although I often forget all this when Patrick empties a drawer for the fourth time in a day or crawls away from a diaper change half naked or pretends he doesn’t hear me tell him no, I have my moments when I remember. (Many when he’s asleep.) And I am grateful to be the mother of a child who is still so close to Christ, and is bringing me closer, too.
Here’s a recent talk about children that really struck home to me.