As a father and a preschool teacher, I take notice when Jesus talks about children. And he talks about them a lot.
"Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it." -Luke 18:16-17
"I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will." -Luke 10:21
How could this be? How could children have direct access to Jesus, the key to receiving the kingdom of God, and revelation that is hidden from the wise and intelligent? I think it has to do with three qualities we all possess as children, but tend to lose as we get older.
Children live entirely in the moment. We often think of young children as easily distracted, but when something grabs their attention, it grips hard. Try talking to children who are building an underground tunnel in the sand box. Observe the intense concentration as they paint, build a city with blocks, or run to kick a ball. "Seize the day!" is the unspoken motto of all children.They aren't hung up in the past. (It's over--who cares?) They aren't worried about the future (There will be clean clothes tomorrow--so what if these are smeared with paint or mud?) Children don't need to be reminded like adults not to worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34). In fact, they haven't even begun to think in that stressful, counterproductive way.
Children are quick to apologize and quick to forgive. The fiercest fight, with flying fists, feet and angry words, ends in a moment with a simple "I'm sorry" and "It's okay." Former enemies play happily together even before the tears are dry. And not only do children forgive one another, but they also forgive themselves quickly. They move on without shame to the next adventure, usually having learned a lesson.
Children still know how to learn. "Why?" and "What does that mean?" are questions I hear many times a day, but rarely from adults. Children know they don't have it all figured out, and their minds are wide open. Have you ever seen a child bluff with a knowing smile when he is clueless?
You don't need to be a parent, a teacher, or even a Christian to gain from what Jesus says above. Just hang around kids, or think back to when you were younger. Reclaim some childlike winsomeness, be a little easier on yourself and others, and once again open your eyes wide with curiosity. I know that whenever I do these things, I'm better for having done so.