Children are the hardest to unlove because they have pure hearts.
I’ve been working with children for almost a decade, from being a Sunday School teacher when I was young to a professional teacher. I’ve met different kinds of children from destitute families to affluent ones. I met children who need to walk with their bare feet and with scrape wounds on their bodies just to go to school and children who have the latest gadgets and coolest things even at a young age. Though they come from different backgrounds, I’ve learned one thing from both of them which is sincerity.
Children are sincere and authentic. Yes at times they lied whenever they want to protect themselves or someone else but after a few hours or a few days, they won’t resist telling the truth. During my first year of teaching, I was having a hard time dealing with different kinds of personalities and until now I’m still learning from it.
As a teacher, I always need to promote peace in the classroom but there won’t be a day without fights or misunderstandings even if it’s about the smallest thing. Another is when they find you trustworthy they will share everything in their lives: their crushes, favorites, worries, fears, and at times their stories from home would slip into their tongues. And I just listen to them and sometimes when it’s heartbreaking I just prayed for them.
One day, I decided to cut my hair and all of them said it was ugly, even the boys were yelling at me asking why do I need to cut it so short. I remember my student said, “teacher it’s so ugly, I don’t like it for you!” When I felt sick, they also knew it even though I didn’t tell them. When I get mad and frustrated they would honestly admit their mistakes. When they couldn’t learn because they couldn’t understand me, they would say it to me. When they wanted to learn something, they asked hard-hitting questions. When I asked them about their ambitions, they were so excited to tell everyone. When they were hurt, they expressed their feelings freely.
It feels so good when you converse with the younger ones. After all, you don’t need to sound better to them, to look smarter, and to prove you’re right because you’re older than them. You just need to be true to yourself, to be genuine, and to be vulnerable. You need to relate to them, to wear the socks they’re wearing even if it’s polka dots.
Now that we’re growing up we forget to have a heart like the lil’ ones, a heart that is genuine and sincere. I remember when the disciples asked Jesus about the greatest in the kingdom of heaven and he said in Mark 18:2-4, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom in heaven.”
I wonder why He didn’t say that the greatest is the one who did many things for him nor the wisest person but a person who humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Perhaps it’s hard for most of us who achieved something in our lives. Sometimes our pride drives us to prove ourselves that we’re good people or we’re better than others. Or at times we keep hiding our truest selves just to please others or we’re relying much on ourselves and not minding other people.
But what I’ve learned with the lil’ ones is that it won’t be your loss if you have a sincere heart. Many believe that pure intention doesn’t win this time, but after working with kids for a long time I do believe that it isn’t true. I learned it the hard way. I looked foolish many times to them whenever I became unnatural. So until now, I’m learning to have a heart like theirs.
A heart that is willing to learn from others, a heart that is willing to accept rebukes and rejections, and a heart that is always in wonder and awe.
Life becomes easier when we have a heart like the lil’ ones.