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Gerard Geis: Suffer the little children

Gerard Geis/For the Saturday Morning Press

When my family was living in Texas a few years back, my daughters and I spent a great deal of time conquering the Texas summer heat by going to Grapevine Lake a few times each week.

One day, as we walked across the beach toward the water, we noticed a dead seagull lying on the sand. My oldest daughter grasped my hand and asked, “What happened to the bird, Dad?”

I replied that the bird had died and gone to Heaven. My youngest daughter looked at the bird, looked at me, then back at the bird, then back at me and finally and, “Did God throw him back down?”

This is the same daughter who, during Sunday school, was asked by her teacher to explain what happened after Jesus exited his tomb after three days. Her reply was, “Well, when Jesus saw his shadow we had six more weeks of winter.”

We adults tend to give kids less credit for wisdom than we should, and we tend to discard their homespun wisdom and colorful vocabulary as being “cute.” We can learn a lot from children, though, and doing so would help us increase our faith and be better sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.

Remember reading scriptures and seeing how much Jesus loved all the little children? He would always speak highly of them and try to get adults to be more childlike and innocent in their approach to faith. If you don’t believe children play an important role in scripture, then you must know that the King James Bible mentions the word “children” 1,727 times.

Based on Jesus’ love of children, I’ve always thought there is a very special place in Hell reserved for anyone who harms little ones. Luke 18:16-17 explains, “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”

Sounds pretty clear to me, but what is it that we need to do to be more childlike? I would suggest we be more humble. Kids know they can’t have too much pride to be instructed, and we should rely on our Heavenly Father. We should be simple in all we do. Kids don’t put on airs or have a need for complicated explanations. Adults need to simply believe and not try to seek out convoluted answers from God.

Lastly, we must show trust in God. Children understand they have to lean on those who have greater access to resources, and they see that parents supply them with their nutritional, physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. We adults must also realize that all our needs are supplied by God, due to our faith and trust.

So, instead of dismissing kiddos by patting them on the head and shooing them away, we should pay closer attention to how they live and take this lesson into our lives.

Gerard Geis is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Gerard Geis is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Gerard Geis is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


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