It’s 7:53 am on a Tuesday. Teo (my four year old) and I are nearing the end of a characteristically hectic morning. My brain is flitting frantically from the 254 unread emails waiting in my inbox to worrying about how I’m going to inconspicuously sneak into my 8:00 am meeting 20 minutes late. I’ve been turning the living room upside down for 15 minutes looking for keys lost in the endless abyss of Legos and blankets.
I ask over my shoulder, “Teo, have you seen mama’s keys?” Teo’s small voice answers calmly from the floor where he’s building a block tower, “Yes, I hid them. We’re not going to work today.”
I turn slowly to him in shock.
“Teo… give. mama. her. keys.” Hands up, Teo responds, “Mama, use your nice voice. I’m helping. We need a vacation.”
And the refrain I’ve heard over and over again since the day I brought this little life into the world rings in my heart, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat… and a little child shall lead them all.” (Isaiah 11:6).
How many times has God sought to teach me rest? How fully and consistently do I struggle against my heavenly parent who simply wants to be still with me? And yet, my miniature person, with all of four years experience on this earth, sees through the depths of my hustle and speaks into the lies of performance-based-value… and my eyes start to see a little clearer.
Jesus asks us to become like little children, inhabiting a whimsy and innocence so easily strangled under the weight and stress of adult life. Once, as the disciples debated who would be the greatest in heaven, Jesus called a child to himself. Placing the child among them, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’” (Matthew 18:3). In God’s kingdom, the simple and undignified have seats of honor. Their voices are valued and their places assured.
And so we live out this faith with humility and laughter in our homes. We take vacations we didn’t realize we needed. We slow the heck down. And we’re okay with the fact that oftentimes the best theologian in our home is a child, all of four years old, declaring the kingdom of God in clarity and peace.