Sunday, September 8, 2013

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them...

I have been thinking about all children's curiosity and natural openness.  They want to know and explore.  At the same time, cultures teach their children to respond differently to what is different and new.

These thoughts are often on my mind, but never more so than in church last week.  I have noticed for some time that about six kids usually sit in the pew beside me.  Some are there each week and some are change.  A teenager or adult often sits at the other end of the pew with them.  Last week, they were even more open to me than usually.  They vied to sit in the spot next to me.  In fact, at one point in the service I had one sit on either side of me to avoid an argument. 

One little girl kept reaching out to touch me.  I believe she was fascinated by my white skin and the fine blond hairs on my arms.  I had to stop her, though, when she decided to touch my glasses – she made prints that made it hard to see clearly!  Most of the children next to me spent a lot of time smiling at me.  What joy they impart.

I have similar experiences when I walk through town.  It is often the children who greet me first.  They are much more likely to smile at me and wave.  (Many adults stare the first time they see me, looking stern.)  Most children laugh with joy when I greet them in their language – and some adults do, too. 

How do we train our children in the USA?  I think it is more common to discourage them from greeting those who are different than they are.  We discourage the natural curiosity.  I understand stranger-danger, but I think it goes beyond that.  I know, too, that here I am white and privileged which affects children’s responses, but, again, I think it goes beyond that.

What do you think?  Have you ever thought about it?  I would love to hear your perspective.   


  1. Susan... I would love to share this reflection during Advent in our TX-LA Gulf Coast Synod, if I have your permission.

    Like you, I believe children embody a curiosity that is so pure and innocent. Oh, to be like a child again.

  2. Good morning how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Central African Republic? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Central African Republic in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez