A well-known phrase, “children should be seen and not heard” caught my attention recently.
According to writingexplained.com this proverb originates in the religious ideals of medieval culture. The original meaning was that young women should not speak in the presence of adults, but later was extended to all children.
Admittedly, there have been occasions when I wished my child would be silent: when I am having conversation with a friend, when it has been an excruciatingly long day, when it has been raining for days and we are stuck in the house, or when no one has wanted my attention for hours, but now I am on the phone and there are so many things to be said!
Dwelling more on this phrase brought Matthew 19:13-15 to my mind. It says this: “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering Him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children”. And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.”
I can’t imagine that the kids were quietly waiting in a line to see Jesus. They were all over the place, running, laughing, and chattering away. Notice that Jesus did not say, “I see those children, and they are too loud”. He did say, “let them come to me…don’t stop them”.
I am privileged to be a Children’s Pastor. I get to spend time with kids. Lots of kids. I get to love them, talk with them, comfort those who cry and be glad with the ones who are glad. I don’t believe that a quiet child is a good child. I do believe that noise and presumed chaos can lead to great church experiences and faith that lasts for a lifetime.
A book I was reading encouraged the reader to take a popular phrase or proverb and reverse it. I would say the opposite of “children should be seen and not heard” is this: “Jesus sees the children and he hears them.” Let them come!