From the book of Matthew we learn that after JESUS and His disciples descended from the Mount of Transfiguration, they paused at Galilee, then came to Capernaum. The disciples said unto Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven! “And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, “And said, Verily I say unto you, 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. “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:1-6). I think it significan’t that, Jesus loved these little ones who so recently had left the preexistence to come to earth. Children then and Children now bless our lives, kindle our love, and prompt our good deeds.
Powerful emotions Parents everywhere realize that the most powerful combination of emotions in the world is not called out by any grand cosmic event, nor is it found in novels or history books, but merely by a parent gazing down upon a sleeping child. When doing so, the truth of the words of Charles M. Dickinson come to mind:
They are idols of hearts and of households; They areAngels of God in disguise; The sunlight still sleeps in their tresses, His glory still gleams in their eyes; These truants from home and from Heaven, They have made me more manly and mild; And I know now how Jesus could liken The kingdom of God to a child. (“The Children”)
Tiny Tim In our daily experiences with Children, we discover they are most perceptive and often utter profound truths. Charles Dickens, the author of the classic A Christmas Carol, illustrated this fact when he described the humble Bob Cratchit family assembling for a rather meager but long-anticipated Christmas dinner. Bob, the father, was returning home with his frail son Tiny Tim upon his shoulder. Tiny Tim “bore a little crutch, and had his limbs supported by an iron frame.” Bob’s wife asked of him, ” ‘And how did little Tim behave?’ . . . “‘As good as gold,’ said Bob, ‘and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see’ ” (Christmas Carol and Cricket on the Hearth (New York: Grosset and Dunlap, n.d.), pp. 50-51). Charles Dickens himself said, “I love these little people, and it is not a slight thing when they who are so fresh from God love us.”
Gifts from Children Children express their love in original and innovative ways. On my birthday a few weeks ago, a precious little girl presented me with her handwritten birthday card and enclosed in the envelope a tiny toy padlock which she liked and thought I would enjoy receiving as a gift. “Of all the dear sights in the world, nothing is so beautiful as a child when it is giving something. Any small thing it gives. A child gives the world to you. It opens the world to you as if it were a book you’d never been able to read. But when a gift must be found, it is always some absurd little thing, pasted on crooked…. an angel looking like a clown. A child has so little that it can give, because it never knows it has given you everything” (Margaret Lee Runbeck, Bits & Pieces, 20 Sept. 1990). Such was Jenny’s gift to me.
Barry Bonnell and Ricky Children seem to be endowed with abiding faith in their Heavenly Father and His capacity and desire to answer their sweet prayers. It has been my personal experience that when a child prays, God listens. Let me share with you the experience of Barry Bonnell and Dale Murphy, well-known professional baseball players formerly with the Atlanta Braves baseball club. Each is a convert to the Church, Dale Murphy having been baptized by Barry Bonnell. “An experience occurred during the 1978 season that Barry described as ‘life changing.’ He was struggling terribly, batting about .200. Because of his poor performance, he was down on himself and felt miserable. He really didn’t want to go when Dale Murphy asked him to come along to the hospital, but he went anyway. There he met Ricky Little, a stalwart (Atlanta) Braves’ supporter, but a youngster afflicted with leukemia. “It was readily apparent that Ricky was near death. Barry felt a deep desire to think of something comforting to say but nothing seemed adequate. Finally, he asked if there was anything they could do. The youngster hesitated, and then asked if they would each hit a home run for him during the next game. Barry said (later), ‘That request wasn’t such a hard thing for Dale, who in fact hit two homers that night, but I was struggling at the plate and hadn’t hit a homer all year. Then I felt a warm feeling come over me and I told Ricky to count on it.”‘ That night, Barry hit his only home run of the season.
(Jim Ison, Mormons in the Major Leagues (Cincinnati: Action Sports, 1991), p. 21).
A child’s prayer had been answered; a child’s wish had been fulfilled.