Lessons learned from children at play - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Lessons learned from children at play

On Easter Monday at the home of my sister and brother-in-law, I watched three of their grandchildren enjoy themselves together in a most fascinating way.

 

Jennifer and Andrew, both 4 years of age, and Jennifer’s brother, Kevin, who is 6, collected blankets, pillows and seat cushions and fashioned them into two piles about three feet apart. They took turns diving from one pile to the other for the best part of an hour. And each time any one of them did it, all three laughed in a most delightful way. I could not take my eyes off them, so compelling was the happiness in their faces. At one point, I realized too that I was laughing every time one of them made the leap.

The happiness their frolicking brought to me remains even a few days later. That well may relate to the grace of the Easter season which calls us to remember the wonderful things the Lord did and still does for us through his passion, death and resurrection; and with faith to perceive the presence and activity of the Risen One in the course of our daily lives.

I think that the children were precisely a beautiful sign and reminder of such divine presence and activity in our world. The pleasure and harmony of the children, the joy they brought to us who saw them were pure and innocent — surely fruits of the Lord’s loving hand.

The whole experience led me to some prayer and reflection on a passage from the Gospel of St. John which we heard during Holy Week. It is from Jesus’ words to his dear friends at the Last Supper, "I have come that you might have my joy and that your joy might be complete."

These little children at play were teaching me something about how, in God’s gracious providence, we can experience in and through our interaction with others something of the joy which is the Lord’s gift to us. They joined together in common purpose to construct their two diving platforms. They took turns in enjoying the fruits of their labors. They delighted not only in their own experience but in the pleasure of their playmates. Their joy was contagious among themselves and warmed the hearts of those who were with them.

I’ll grant you that things don’t always unfold among the little ones as they did that day. There are spats and tiffs and a fair share of time-outs. But when such special moments come along so does the deeper insight into the meaning of the Lord’s words in the Gospel according to St. Luke, "Let the little children come to me. Do not shut them off. The reign of God belongs to such as these."

It’s good for you to be mindful from time to time of how well we work with others for a common purpose; of how willing we are to help others find joy; of how ready we are to rejoice with others when they find some measure of joy.

I hope that you are enjoying many blessings during the Easter season, and that you are praying especially for those who were baptized or entered into full communion with us at the Easter Vigil.

Peace to all.

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