In our journey here on earth, as we get older, generally we seek to become independent and self sufficient.  To some extent, these are admirable qualities.  At the same time, however, the Savior admonishes us to be as a little child.  What childlike qualities is the Savior encouraging us to develop?  As we learn by experience, how do we maintain these attributes that the Savior desired?

I don’t pretend to know all of the answers to these questions, but I will share a few thoughts and hope that others will add their comments.

One attribute that I love about children is their ability to forgive.  Who hasn’t seen children fighting and within minutes they have forgiven, forgotten, and are best friends again?  I know whenever I have become angry with my children and have sought their forgiveness, I have appreciated their eagerness to forgive me.  Somehow in the process of getting older and supposedly wiser we sometimes become less forgiving and more prone to holding a grudge against those that may have hurt or offended us.  But we know that we are all in need of forgiveness, and ultimately the forgiveness we receive will depend on how forgiving we have been (3 Ne. 13:14-15; D&C 64:9).

Closely related to forgiveness, in my opinion, is the childlike quality of Love.  Children seem to love effortlessly.  I believe that children are inherently less judgemental and more tolerant than adults.  Children are generally considered pure, innocent, and without guile.

Children are believing and trusting.  They are curious and want to learn.  They are usually obedient.  All of these qualities seem to flow so naturally from children- they don’t think about doing these things- it’s just the way they are.  By contrast, as we grow older, it seems to me that we lose many of these wonderful childlike qualities.

I think one of the keys to becoming childlike is found in the well known scripture in Mosiah:  “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”

Christ loved children.  He knows of our tendency to become prideful as we gain experience and grow older.  He knows what is best for us and that to receive the blessings he desires to give us, we need to develop the Christlike, childlike qualities of forgiveness, love, and humility.  As I continue this journey through life and gain experience and knowledge, I hope to remember to try to be as a child.

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