What is it about children that makes some people so ready to dismiss them as though they were of no consequence? You know, I have finally become convinced that one of the the reasons children behave badly is because no one pays any attention to them when they behave well. After all, a kid who behaves all the time is like wallpaper, a piece of furniture, or background music—they’re there, they’re appreciated. We pat them on the head, feed them, make sure they have clothes to wear and a bed to sleep in, and there’s really no worry apart from that. On the other hand, when children are bad we pay attention. Many kids are willing to risk the wrath of Mom and Dad just to get some recognition.
Too often, children are treated like non-persons. When I was growing up, I heard it said that
little owls have big ears when the conversation around children turned to something they shouldn’t hear. Now, people say all kinds of things in front of children like they were waiters in a restaurant. And when they are inconvenient, we can just get rid of them. I don’t mean kill them off (though, regrettably, in extreme cases, that happens). I’m talking about parents who leave their children home alone and go off on vacation—little kids. And then there is the ever-increasing number of children who are being raised by their grandparents because their parents are unable, or unwilling, to get their lives to together. I wonder about what we are going to do when the last generation of grandparents—who really care about children—are gone. Jesus provides for us an excellent example of the proper attitude and responsibility towards children in Matthew 19:
Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Allow little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.