Children are the prophetic voice of our future. I was reminded of this in my son’s recent blog post when he was sharing some of the end-of-school year projects of our two oldest granddaughters. Of course, I am completely biased. However, the young voices of all children now will be the voices of adults before we know it. Maybe we need to listen in on what they’re saying, what they’re learning, and how they’re processing the information they have.
Our oldest granddaughter is nine years-old and in the third grade. She’s a scholar student at her International Baccaluareate public school. This is the girl who, when she was in the first grade, educated her class on the social ills of places like McDonald’s where they stopped for dinner on the way home from the school field trip to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. This year her end-of-the-year school performance theme was Not Waitin’ on the World to Change. She was selected to share her poem, “Save Me”, on the white tiger, endangered animal she researched. Listen to it and ask yourself, “Is that prophetic or what?”
The middle granddaughter is in kindergarten at the same school. Her first research project was on The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. (Did you have a research project in kindergarten? I didn’t. I was reading On Cherry Street, reinforcing 1950’s white suburbia!) Besides the poster, she had to write four paragraphs about her topic. It doesn’t take a six year-old to tell us our planet and ecosystems are in danger because of our irresponsible and irrational denial of our human contribution to pollution, waste, and lack of stewardship of our limited natural resources. However, if we don’t listen to those voices, what will there be for them when they are our age now?
Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ statement, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” Here’s the context. A lot gets said about needing to have the faith of a child or the innocence of a child to enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus was constantly challenging his followers to look at old things in a new way. Children are open because they are learning and exploring. Jesus wants us to be like that, open to new possibilities, learning and exploring the edges. We are to live out our faith while researching life. Discovering and exploring and learning are transformative. The question we must ask ourselves is, “Are we teachable?”
There are plenty of ossified, nay-saying adults babbling around us. They have nothing prophetic or edifying to say. I can’t believe anyone listens to them. But then, even Jesus’ own followers got caught up in all the control, even trying to prevent children from coming to him. We know what Jesus had to say. I wonder what those children had to say?