The news this week in the UK highlighted the plight of worried children in today’s busy, pressuring world that babies are born into. It made me think about the simple things that Jesus said about worry and anxiety and how our children as well as us adults can learn from the Master.
Jesus spoke often to his young disciples and he taught them well and encouraged them not to worry about everyday life, e.g. whether they had enough food or drink or enough clothes to wear. “Look at the birds….Look at the lilies of the field…” he said to them (see in Matthew 6: 25- end) – they don’t worry and God cares for them. “So” said Jesus, “don’t worry about these things saying , ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?…These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers…” (Matthew 6:31-32 – New Living Translation). As we, in the west, expect to have so much material things and the highest quality also, Jesus advocates the simple life of just looking to him for everything we need. Children have this simple faith built in them but I think it is we adults who clutter their lives with demands and material things that are not necessary.
Children today seem to have huge expectations upon them, like keeping up with their peers with the latest technology of phones/laptops, ipads etc.; dressing to impress; and being able to be popular on social media. Really, children today and all through the ages have had only one obligation and command from God that is simply to obey their parents, something not even considered very much or mentioned in child rearing discussions, let alone carried out.
A verse, given to me at my baptism, comes to mind and in the New Living Translation of the Bible it reads in Philippians 4:8-9:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand…” That’s what we all need and God’s peace overrides our worries as we bring everything to God in prayer. We can encourage our children to do just that so that they can grow up more whole and balanced and confident in the God who can provide all that they will ever need.