It’s one of the best sounds in the world – right up there with a good choral group singing Mozart or someone shouting “Who wants ice cream?” You know, sweet sounds to tame the savage beast and satisfy the deepest need. I’m talking about children laughing as they play. I’m privileged to witness its healing effects nearly every day as our Preschool children gather to learn. What a lovely chorus of joy greets me each morning. Not only are they a treat for the ear, but they are a delight to the eye – a smorgasbord of glorious color. Redheads and blonds, blue, green and pumpkin pie brown eyes abound! Every lovely shade of skin God has designed is present. They are a feast for the ear and the eye. I LOVE that they don’t waste valuable time making comparisons to see who has the right credentials, who wears the right labels, who’s smart enough to know all the rules. They simply PLAY! They seem to be blind to difference. They don’t see the color of another’s skin, nor do they care if one flaunts fancy clothes while another wears hand-me-downs. They are wondrously oblivious to the differences so clearly visible to the more mature eye. Instead of fretting over differences, they get to the art of playing. From their childish efforts come some amazing results. You hear giggles and laughter. You see cooperation and trust and delight – simply marvelous…. So, what happens as we grow up?
My theory is that little ones have so recently come from God that they find it natural to be in tune with others and to find joy in life. Their young souls remember that in God’s eyes there are no barriers to enjoying life. But, as children grow, they forget that intimacy with God. As the memory fades, they look for new teachers. Too often, the ones they find point out the differences, providing materials to build walls that separate. The height and depth of the walls depend to a large degree on those new teachers. There is a verse from a song in “South Pacific” that cries out to be heard again in an age when the walls between us are too sturdily built.
“You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late, before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate, you’ve got to be carefully taught.”
Sadly, it’s a lesson too well learned. We must be more careful how we reflect God’s love. There are a lot of walls that need to come down. I’m convinced we should let those who hate more than they love come and spend a few days in the Federated Preschool where the EXPERTS teach how to get along. Their lovely and gentle acceptance of each other will make any soul smile. Oh, our children are such fine teachers. Let us learn from them!
Love, Pastor John