My name is Ocean and I’m doing a guest post for Alana today. I’ll start by telling you that I’m a blessed high school freshman using one hundred percent home school curriculum. I’ll earn my high school diploma by sitting at my kitchen table for three to five hours every weekday, working almost completely independently toward my dream of becoming a mother, teacher, homesteader, and, prayerfully, an author on the side.
It’s on my heart today to talk about children.
One of the things that I don’t like about public schools is the way the classes are set up. A student will leave their house at a very early hour and spend the best part of their day with few more than people their own age. It’s only natural that when they come home, the last thing they want to do is spend time with their family – their younger or older siblings – their parents.
Consider how most families are these days. Both the husband and wife usually have full time jobs. When they decide to have children, the mother will usually take a few weeks off of work to care for her baby. But then, the child goes to a daycare all day long and, as they grow up and go into public school – usually at only four years, these days – they’re already caught in the pattern of being around people their age all day long.
I have a memory from when I was six years old. My neighbor was eight. We always played together, nearly every day. She was one of my best friends. One day, she invited me to her birthday party and sleep over with her and a few other friends. I was so excited. My parents allowed me to go; it was only next door, after all. On the specified date, I came to her house. She and three other friends from her school were playing outside. I joined them; they seemed excited to see me. Near an hour later, they started inside. I followed, only to have the door shut in my face. My knock was answered with a “you aren’t invited, Ocean.” I didn’t really feel welcome at their house anymore.
I’ve also seen sophomores in high school ignore a freshman. I’ve seen eighth graders pretend the sixth grader isn’t standing there. I’ve seen seven-year-olds refuse to play with five-year-olds just because of their age difference. It’s a very sad sight. People can learn from people older than them, and younger than them.
Oh, and there’s also another thing.
Younger people naturally look up to older people. A shy little child that hasn’t said a word to you may look to you for how to behave, and you don’t even know it. You could be responsible for how they act in the future. I’ll admit right now that, even at fourteen, I definitely look up to people. I prefer mature adults to people my age. I do, though, have a bigger sense of right and wrong than little children do. I can look at someone and know not to dress that way, or act in that manner. But little children usually don’t. You have such a huge opportunity to lead those little lives to their Savior. The “friend” that uninvited me to her birthday party had a sister. She’s four years younger than me, and her family is Jehovah’s Witness. I had the opportunity to share what I believe with her, and took it. Now, she’s a strong Christian, and has been for the last three years. You can do that, too.
Alana and I are three years apart. After my neighbor decided I wasn't "cool enough", I was very nervous about Alana, at the home school group where we met. I was eleven; fourteen seemed so much bigger. It seemed like there was no way we could ever be friends. But, of course, I found myself spending the night at her house less than a year after I dared to say something to her. I know how special I feel when I know that I'm her friend. It makes me want to flip a little girl over my shoulder when she asks me to hold her. It makes me want to write a letter to the little boy that felt left out in the last game we played in Sunday school. It makes a meaning in the mess of paint on the picture that the little child made just for you.
Overall, children are altogether precious. They’re little innocent lives that love you unconditionally. They want to play with you. They want you to be their friend. There are four girls – eleven, seven, five, and four – that live across the street from me. They love it when I make them cookies, bounce them higher than they ever could themselves on their trampoline, watch a movie with them, or whatever they may want to do. Last Friday evening, a sweet little four-year-old girl gave me a purple glittery bracelet. I didn't want to take it off; it was such a simple, sweet little gift. When I wore it to church the following Sunday morning, and thanked her for it a second time, she ran to her mom and whispered loud enough that I heard, “Mommy, Ocean is wearing her bracelet!” It’s those days you’ll never forget; it’s those stories you’ll tell them when they’re teenagers; it’s those memories that will make you feel old on their wedding day.
|My little brothers, two and seven, playing swords... and shields and light sabers and cowboy hats...|
Children are precious virtues. Lead them. Love them. Be their friend. The reward is priceless.
Jesus loves you,