I ran across this video on Scot McKnight’s blog. Here is a repost of the comment I left there:
I am trying so hard not to laugh because my wife is asleep next to me. What a great video to introduce people to the world of a children’s pastor. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to field questions almost word-for-word like those!!! Let’s see a senior pastor do that from week-to-week 😉
I’ve got to check out that series!
On a more serious note, I think the church reacts exactly like the minister in that scene. We hear these questions and either try to glibly answer them or dismiss them outright because they are “stupid” questions asked by ignorant children. We’ve got to begin seeing children as, at least, just as important as students and adults. We, too many times, shoo children away like the disciples did because they take up too much time, are too loud, ask unimportant or impertinent questions. We need to start equipping those who work with children better with the tools they need to developmentally engage children with the message and life of Jesus Christ when they are soaking everything up and being shaped so they grow up primed to continue on the mission of taking part in God’s redemptive work around them.
We need more people championing children and those who work with them as this emerging Third Way of being Christians takes shape.
I really was sitting next to my wife in bed trying not to laugh! This clip is taken from a BBC show entitled Outnumbered. It’s about a family with three kids, where the parents are outnumbered. I guess they have the kids do a fair amount of improvisation. I definitely plan on checking out the series.
Isn’t funny how we don’t really take kids’ questions seriously? We hear questions like that and think, “How cute” or “What annoying children” or “Ha, ha…” and then shake our heads… Even some of the other commenters on Scot’s blog for this post expressed similar sentiments. I don’t fault those individual expressions towards children. What I do fault is an entire culture that continues to see children as somehow less than, or incomplete, adults. We talk about the importance of children and how they need to learn spiritual truths and the need to create age appropriate environments or create family/communal services or create service opportunities for children… but we don’t listen to them and take them seriously. We see them as something to be shaped and molded and programmed. Yes, those are all things we need to be doing, but we also need to be listening, engaging, caring, and learning the heart of children.
What’s the picture you get when you think of the times Jesus scolded his disciples about not allowing the children to come to him? I used to imagine that there was a line of children or group of children wanting to see the “celebrity” Jesus… or wanted to play with him… or something. At least that’s what the many paintings which portray that scene convey. I like those pictures.
What I’ve been imagining lately, though, is children in the crowd asking “stupid or annoying or immature” questions of their parents or people next to them while Jesus was talking… and they were asking them loudly… the kind of loud you hear at the grocery store when your child asks you when you are at the till whether the cashier has a penis or not. I imagine kids asking questions like the ones in this clip and the disciples shushing them and telling them to sit still and just listen or telling that that their questions are inappropriate or dumb or impertinent. I then imagine Jesus getting a bit incensed… the kind of anger I feel when my child is reprimanded by someone else for a wrong they did not commit… I imagine Jesus putting the disciples in their place and then having the children come to him so he could listen to them and pat them on the head or give them high fives and hugs and let them tell him about all the levels they beat on Legend of Zelda or the names of all their My Little Ponies or the new hat they bought at the store or what they ate for lunch or didn’t eat for lunch or what their mommy said when she hit her thumb with the hammer.
I truly believe that if we are to influence the direction of culture it has to start with kids. But in order to do that, we need to first be able to listen to kids… really listen to them… and take them seriously. You don’t have to have the answers. You simply have to care. You can worry about the answers later.