When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,

 A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.

 And all the birds in the trees, they’d be singing so happily,

 Joyfully, playfully watching me.

 But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible,

 Logical, responsible, practical.

 And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,

 Clinical, intellectual, cynical.

(“The Logical Song”, by Supertramp)

I heard a Christian minister on the radio telling me that I need to make sure my kids suffer the consequences of their actions and bad decisions, and that I shouldn’t protect them from such things. I frequently hear how important it is for me to discipline my kids:  I never hear how important it is for me to love them. And if I do hear the “L” word, it’s used as a euphemism for control, discipline and rigidity: if you really “love” your kids, you’ll march them up and down the square until they’re broken. No, they need smiling, kind love, not eighteen years of insults and nagging under some guise of “love”.

I’ll reluctantly agree that we have no choice but to prepare our children for the real world. But it seems to me that there are some who want to wring the last drop of joy out of their kids as soon as they can, and they want me to do the same to mine.

I see signs in city parks saying “NO ball games, skateboards, roller-skates or bicycles”. I’ve seen do-gooder citizens growling at boys for having a little skateboard fun in an empty parking lot. I’ve seen police doing the same.  I see parents barking orders at their children if they commit the heinous crime of having fun and making a noise. I see parents yelling at their kids for crying. People want them to grow up now – they want them to be serious and miserable like they are. Perhaps they’re envious  because kids know how to have fun and they don’t any more.

The disciples of Jesus tried to stop some children getting near him. They thought children were unimportant and that they would spoil the occasion. They thought that only adults-serious, world-hardened adults-were acceptable to the Son of God. They were wrong:

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little ones come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16).

In our pompous, pious, boring “maturity” we think that God is most attracted to the mature and the worldly wise; the achiever, the confident, the aloof and the urbane; the cool and the powerful. In fact, he says, the kingdom of God consists of those who are childlike.

It’s my opinion that if we were to focus on loving our children and helping them to find the joy of life, rather than on squeezing every bit of happiness out of them, they would grow to love life instead of seeking the bottle or the pills or some non-existent perfect lover. They would learn how to be loving rather than how to be judgmental, cynical and boring. To me this is perfectly logical.


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