I do not have a formal degree. My college efforts lasted two year and with an “Associates in Arts”, I married a wonderful woman and honeymooned to the first ministry in Largo, Florida in June of ’48. In the last 54 years I have been in over 50,000 homes. Sitting in a rocking chair on a wrap around porch listening to the wisdom of some old sage. This was a great education in itself.
Being young then, I was attracted to the wonder and beauty of kids. Art Linkletter was in his hay day (radio and later T.V.) with is unique program of “Kids Say The Darndest Things”. Draining wisdom from the old, and listening to kids became my practice. Now I am old and those aspiring to enter the ministry often come by or call, asking for some direction or help. All that is left for me is the marvel of kids. They are honest, forthright, and above hypocrisy. Some of the following article is shared with others who contributed along the way.
Dear Minister: “I know God loves everybody, but he never met my sister!”
“My father should be a minister. Every day he gives me a sermon about something.” My mother’s very religious. She goes to play bingo at church every week, even when she has a cold.” “I would like to go to heaven some day because I know my brother won’t be there”. My grand son, Alex, (5 years old) just came into my study and said, “Please write about a big dump truck because I love trucks and one day I want to be a truck driver”.
Leo Buscaglia wrote about a 4 year old who saw his old neighbor crying and went and climbed up into his lap. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, “Nothing, I just helped him cry”.
In a preschool class of kids, the subject popped up about adoption. One responded, “I now all about adoption for I was adopted.” “What does it mean to be adopted?” another child asked. “It means”, said the girl, “that you grew in your mommy’s heart, not in her tummy”.
One second grader wrote, “I think more people would come to church if you moved it to Disneyland.” Another penned, “Please pray for the airlines ‘cause I’m flying to California tomorrow.”
When I get discouraged I look and listen to kids. I think about little Jamie Scott who was trying out for a part in the school play. One day the parts were awarded. As the mother went to collect her after school, Jamie rushed up to her, eyes brimming with pride and excitement, “Guess what Mom” she shouted, I’ve been chosen to clap and cheer.”
I was officiating at a “pee wee” level football game. One little boy was chosen to be on the All Star Team, not because of weight or ability, but because he was so full of joy and enthusiasm for the game itself. With but 7 second left on the clock, the coach cleared the bench and sent him in. When the game ended, he returned with eyes driven wild with excitement, and reported to the coach, “I didn’t make any tackles, but I did jump on the pile twice.”
Wouldn’t it be something if we were born old and grew young? To many of us old people have simply lost the wonder of life. The joy of hearing the birds sing, the beauty of the morning sun, or the varied colors of it setting. One little boy wrote to his minister, “Please pray for our Little League team. We need a new pitcher – NOW!” One reported, “Are there any devils on the earth? I think there may be one in my class.”
When the doctor entered the ICU to visit a 6 year old patient recovering from open heart surgery, the little girl asked, “Did you see Jesus?”
The doctor, not understanding her query replied “No”. “Oh you must have seen him sir, he lives right in my heart”. As Alex, my grandson is sitting quietly on the floor of my study, drawing trucks, I am thinking, what does a five year old think about? Stay “young” all your life and you’ll never “grow old”.
I was five once. All six brothers and sisters were away to school and as I held mother’s hand I would say, “Just you and me, just you and me”. I remember when I would bring a hand full of flowering horse weeds to the back door, trying to sell them to Mother for a penny”. In my day, one penny would buy 7 pieces of candy at Cracknel’s store. With a nickel we could buy a 16 oz bottle of pop, called “Kix’s”. We would punch a hole in the top with a rusty nail and suck on that thing for hours. Anything good we always wanted to make it last. Those were the days.
James writes, “For what is your life. You are as a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. . . Solomon wrote, “Remember thy creator in the day of thy youth . . . Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (James 4:14; Ecclesiastes 12:1, 13”). Wasting time is slow suicide.