Out of the Mouth of Babes

Babes

Kids say lots of things that we attribute to the fact they’re kids. They mess up grammar: “Her wants me to come play.” They are completely honest: “Mom, you look SOOO much prettier with your makeup on!” (yep, got this one just yesterday). They love potty talk: let’s just skip this example.

But sometimes children say such remarkable things we use the phrase, “Out of the mouth of babes;” because we’re surprised at the insight we hear coming from them.

I like to tell my kids to, “Shh,” or “Quiet down,” more often than probably anything else. Usually because I’m trying to read something or hear my own thoughts. Important things, you know.

In Matthew 21, when the children spoke up after Jesus’ miracles in praise, the Pharisees were indignant and Jesus rebuked them.

“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”

Maybe when we stop shushing and listen in closely, we’ll hear the hidden praise.

***

Here in my Southwestern Michigan town, we might only have 2 or 3 restaurants that can compare with the places I used to frequent in NYC  when we lived out East. We’re a little behind in fashion and we don’t get the hot musical shows or bands coming through often. But you know what we do have?

Garage sales — many garage sales (jealous?). Paw through your neighbor’s old crap and pay to take it away for a price that makes you giddy? Sign me up. So for the 30-second high and as part of our cultural duty to this area, a few times a summer we climb into our minivan with some crumpled dollars and whatever change in in the van and venture out into the promise land of needless treasures. I let my kids each pick one thing, crossing my fingers it doesn’t take batteries or light up.

On one of our recent outings, my 3 year-old daughter scoured the sale tables until she spotted it – the item of her choosing. Past all the clothes, the buzzing toys, the swords and the dilapidated house fixtures, her big blue eyes fixated on the prize: A baby doll.

A sweet, little pink outfitted, black baby doll. At least that’s the descriptor I saw right away.

No big surprise on the toy of choice being a doll; she’s got a mother’s heart already. She picked it up and started hugging it and said, “I love this baby, mom.” She made no mention that the doll’s plastic skin was a different color than her own. To her, skin color was not an adjective to even consider.

***

“Mom, are Jane and Mary sisters?” my six-year-old asked about some neighbors – two warm and caring women who, though I haven’t come right out and asked them, I have determined are lesbians. “Well, honey, they’re friends. Sometimes friends live together.”

I wasn’t going to get into a sexuality discussion with someone who doesn’t even know what sex is. “Oh! she replied. “That’s fun! Maybe Lucia (her sister) and I can live together someday.” That was that.

No judgments, no wrestling, no terms. Sexual preference wasn’t even on her radar. Though I believe that God’s best plan intends for sexual relationships to exist within the covenant of male/female marriage, we’ll save those conversations for some day in the future. But for now, my daughter just saw them as people that were kind to her and to each other.

***

When my 4-year-old son pointed out a large group of people biking along the road, the women in long dresses and bonnets, the men with full beards, and all of them in bright orange safety vests, I thought, “Aren’t they a strange looking ensemble.” All he noticed was that, “Those people are riding bikes without training wheels.”

While I had already wandered mentally into a whole bunch of questions about those “Amish” people (which they may not have been), he was simply impressed with their ability to ride their bikes independently,

***

The praise I hear in these scenarios is subtle. It’s not the loud, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” the children were shouting in the Matthew 21 passage. My kids lacked the adjectives for race, sexual preference and religious group in the scenarios I shared. What I hear them pronouncing, through their label omissions was,

“People! We see people! Made in the image of God!” In their way, recognizing and reflecting the great love the Father has for people, His creation.

I don’t think God looks down and puts people into the label buckets we use.

Black-White.

Gay-Straight.

Catholic-Protestant.

Evangelical-Non-evangelical.

Working mom-Stay-at-home mom. 

He sees us as people first.

People with all of our sins, our wounds and our need for a Savior who can heal us spiritually, emotionally, physically.

It’s not that we don’t have differences. It’s not that skin color or sexual preference or denomination don’t matter. It’s just that a person’s humanity matters more.  Something my kids were able to show me this week through words they didn’t use.

Out of the mouth of babes…truth.

 

Comments

  1. Nicole Douglass says:

    good job. well said.