Children can teach us a thing or two | Faith | The Press and Standard

by | April 17, 2016 5:00 am

Last Updated: April 13, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Have you ever heard of the wise old saying, “You are never too old to learn”? Well, it is a true adage because as long as you are alive and in your right mind, you are going to learn something from everyone, even if you disagree with the lesson. However, there are those who are “know-it-alls” and will accept wisdom and knowledge from no one. In other words, they are right, and everyone else is wrong.
One of the distinguishing features of the wise man is that he listens to correction and seeks understanding. By contrast, the fool rejects correction and makes no attempt to gain understanding. To substantiate these two concepts, Proverbs 9:9 states, “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” (NLT). Further, Proverbs 18:2 affirms, “Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” (NLT). Therefore, learning and wisdom are lifelong processes.
C. Joybell C., a writer of fiction and poetry, asserts, “The only way that we can live is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”
There goes “learning” again, a necessity of survival. Consequently, it doesn’t matter from whom you learn as long as it is sound and is something that is going to help you become a better person.
Children can even teach us a thing or two. Never underestimate their wisdom and knowledge because they are just like sponges, soaking up everything, zealously wanting “to squeeze out” what they know. Something that they know could be something that you as an adult may need to learn. Holding a conversation with a child could prove to be beneficial to a willing listener. The words and actions of children have in some cases ended family tugs-of-war. If you don’t think so, read William Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.”
Let me take this opportunity to share with you a story, “Grandfather’s Table,” about a powerful, eye-opening lesson that a four-year-old teaches his parents in words and action. Please take the time to share it because it is quite a lesson to be instilled in others.
“A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law and four-year-old grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table, but the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.
“The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. ‘We must do something about grandfather,’ said the son. ‘I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating and food on the floor.’ So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.
“When the family glanced in grandfather’s direction, he sometimes had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.
“One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, ‘What are you making?’ Just as sweetly, the boy responded, ‘Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Momma to eat your food from when I grow up.’ The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.
“The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no words were spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days, he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.”
Did you catch the child’s lesson? Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!

(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at abrightcolumn@lowcountry.com)

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