They mess up a lot. They run in the building and talk out of turn. They call each other names. And despite the incessant corrections from teachers and adults (somehow I'm one or both of those now), they forget and mess up over and over, day after day. It's easy to get frustrated with them. It's easy to get irritated. Why can't they remember what they were told? Why don't they realize that the rules are there for their benefit and for their safety? Why don't they recognize that "no running down the stairs" is a rule so that they don't fall and hurt themselves?
It makes me think about how God must see me. Constantly falling, constantly running in the hallways of my life, constantly talking when it's my turn to listen. Yet, He doesn't get angry; His patience is unending. In imitating God, then, especially now, I find myself called to have the same type of patience - one that acts with a firm, yet gentle hand.
I think there's another lesson though. I don't think that the constant failings are what Jesus referred to when he said that
unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3The always-stunning realization that I have every day when working with middle school students is their willingness to take correction. Despite the fact that they might make the same mistakes over and over, their minds and their hearts are open to instruction. They want insatiably to learn, to grow, to succeed. I think that's the aspect of being child-like that God wants for us. He knows we'll mess up. He knows we'll run when we should walk, we'll call names, we'll talk when it's not our turn. We just need to remember to have hearts open to His advice, open to His Words, and willing to trust that He knows what is best for us better than we could ever know it ourselves.