What makes a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood?… Children!
By Machelle McDowell
“ A heart that beats in rhythm with a child is one that captures the essence of God‘s love for kids.”
We as parents, grandparents, and educators, sometimes do not appreciate the value of children we have been rewarded the privilege of sharing the neighborhoods of our lives with. Psalm 127:3 reiterates that children are a valued reward
Do we see them as such? I realize some children may not seem like a reward and appear to be everything but. This is not true in God’s eyes. We must see all children through the eyes of Jesus.
God shows us his deep love and respect for children in Psalm 139. The writer points out that God formed our inward parts; and knitted us together in our mother’s womb. We are wonderfully made. His eyes saw our unformed substance; in His book was written every one of them, the days that were formed for us.
God gives us children as a gift, not a burden. They are a heritage from God, created in his likeness! No wonder Jesus himself declared, “For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” He in essence is instructing us to Steward them well.
What an example of Jesus’ love for children than the host of the television series for 33 years, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood!
Fred Rogers was the epitome of demonstrating a heart for children. He recognized the worth of a child in a manner that led him on a lifelong journey loving and respecting children as a valued part of society. A lesson we can all learn from.
When I think of Fred Rogers, I can envision Jesus himself wearing one of the 25 hand knitted long sleeve sweaters that Mr. Rogers wore on each episode as he welcomed his audience into a safe haven where children could be themselves. Mr Rogers reflected the same love and warmth that fills our souls when we speak of the name of Jesus.
I can just imagine his kind gentle voice quoting Matthew 19:14, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Fred Rogers believed this scripture! He modeled it!
Every episode of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was filled with the presence of a sweet spirit that welcomed all children no matter what the issue discussed. They would learn;
It is OK to feel our emotions and talk about them.
It is OK to make mistakes; we learn from them and tomorrow is a new day.
It is OK that you were not perfect, but God takes our imperfections and mold them into something beautiful for His glory.
Children have an uncanny ability to see through the motivations of adults. They can read us better than we read ourselves. If we don’t take the time to be personal and relational with our children, grandchildren, or students, we have missed out on the very blessing God has bestowed upon us!
Sometimes, it appears we treat our children, grandchildren, or students, like an inheritance of an invaluable heirloom. We leave them sitting on a shelf only recognizing them when they make us feel good or gives us a sense of pride. We don’t appreciate them as much when they needs a little dusting or a little TLC.
Parents! Grandparents! Educators! I feel, our job is one of the most important God-given responsibilities ever created. We have been given a reward.
How we relate to children in the early years of their lives can change the trajectory of who they become as adults. They need to be listened to and given an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas. God has designed them that way. Jesus beckoned the children to come to Him in Matt 19:4. Be proud of the reward we have received.
Fred Rogers demonstrated a sweet Godly spirit that welcomed children into each episode and at the end of the program they would leave a better human being than when they entered.
That is my challenge for us today: let’s help our kiddos enter this world knowing they are loved, respected and hold a special place in the neighborhoods of our hearts! Let’s help mold them to become disciples of Christ that they may exit the same world a better human being because of it!
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood when we treat our children like a reward!
Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red, yellow, black, and white
They are precious in his sight