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The Invitation

Today, I have an invitation for you...

As a young girl, I gravitated towards children. I always wanted to be a mother. I felt drawn to their cuteness of course, but mostly to their purity. I felt safe with children and trusted their honesty and good intentions. And even though I was young, I felt motherly towards them. In fact, for as long as I can remember, all I wanted to be was a mother. I would fantasize about being a mom and would carry little Barbies in my pockets. I would make tiny clothes for them as I cared for and protected them.

Children were and still are my favorite kind of people. I have always believed in their innate ability to make the world a better place merely by existing and have always sought to create a safe space where they could experience unconditional love.

As an adult, I could be seen at family events on the floor with the children doing a craft for Thanksgiving or singing a song. This was my favorite place to be.

A Little Can Equal A Lot

When I did missionary work in Mexico, I was most impressed with their contentment. They did not have much in terms of material goods and money, but they were so happy.

An open space by an abandoned building was a soccer field. A large cardboard box was a home. This was a love that knew nothing about material gain. It wasn't about things. It was about people; about the experiences gained with people.

There is nothing that compares to the love of a child. A child loves without excuse or necessity...they just love. They forgive without long-winded conversations about who was right and who was wrong. They forgive without flowers or a song. A child's true nature is to accept you as you are. They don't need to know much about you. They are not swayed by your degree, social class or fame. They just love you for you.

To experience said love is a priceless and bountiful joy that inspires the imagination. Dinosaurs come to life! The Avengers dwell within your living room as you save the village from doom.

Recently, I was caring for one of my beloved sweet little boys who, with his tender innocence, reminded me of the importance of being grateful. Grateful for those we have been gifted with the opportunity to love and be loved by. He reminded me of the gift of safety that one should bring to each child's life. He reminded me of our responsibility to provide a sacred space in which children can be listened to because, although young, they speak the language we can learn from...the language of unconditionals; unconditional love, forgiveness and joy.

Through The Eyes of a Child

As parents, sometimes, we become so preoccupied with teaching that we lose sight of the learning; there is so much we can learn from them. But we must pause to listen and be active participants in their lives observing all things through their eyes. We must take the time to jump in the puddle and not worry about the mud but get lost in their discovery of the splashing water. To love as a child is to love fully, wholly and deeply.

When I asked parent, Kristin Bentley, what her child has taught her about love, she replied that she has learned about a love that is unwavering and patient. She shared that her child's love has made her a better person and that she now wants to make the world a more loving place for her daughter. Parent, Kelly Copps, responded that her boys have opened her eyes to see the good in people and that they reflect that goodness. Luisa Lopez, a parent of two young boys, replied that her children have taught her that love is pure and longs for shared moments, not things.

Herein lies the invitation. The invitation without a date or expiration.

The invitation to say yes to the experience of joy, laughter, and forgiveness. The invitation to say yes to play, fun and imagination. The invitation to say yes to dirtying your shoes and pants as you jump in puddles of mud and bend over in laughter.

Yes! This is the invitation. It is simple yet profound. It is free and freeing. It is true and healing. To love as a child loves, this is the greatest of all invitations.

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