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Like the Mind of a Child

Updated: Jun 15, 2022

Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. (Mark 10:15 NIV)

As a kid, I often enjoyed watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. I have gotten a chance to revisit it now that my son is beginning to develop the simplest understanding of some basic things (and most likely spending more time watching a screen than he should). Just as I was, Isaac is fascinated by the speedy deliveries, field trips and movies on Picture Picture that look at plants and animals more closely or show how things are made. He loves letting our imaginations run free in the Neighborhood of Make Believe. And he goes through stretches where he likes to watch certain episodes over and over.

Once again, I have been encouraged and empowered by the simple messages Fred Rogers reiterated and the means by which he did so. Whether the underlying subject was about our nature, relationships, or life in general, he presented truths that are simple to adults and fascinating to children, all of which were underscored by the point that each one of us is unique, special, and important.

This very message is the one God wants us to hear repeatedly, especially in this world that is overrun with grief, burden, and hate. God made each of us special, knowing every innate detail about us, and He wants to be the ever-present neighbor in our lives, the friend that is always there and eager to spend regular time with and relate to us. Jesus died to make that possible, so that our personal sins would not block us from it. It is the greatest gift, a truth so wonderful we can only barely begin to understand, and yet one of many we all too easily take for granted or even overlook amidst the struggles of our daily lives.

I was not raised Christian, so as a child, I could only take the world around me at face value. Struggling with many weaknesses and usually drawing more criticism than praise, I often found myself asking questions such as:

Why am I like this? What am I good for? Why should anyone love me?

I had to rely on counselors, a very few close friends, and shows like Mister Rogers to provide the regular doses of encouragement and inspiration for creativity I needed to get past the negativity my mind was constantly pressured and often all too willing to accept.

Eventually, having been exposed to church services multiple times during my childhood and at college, I got curious enough to ask myself, What do all the Bible readings, prayers and gatherings really mean? That desire for a simple answer and more exposure to the positive energy I experienced at church events helped open the door to my building a relationship with Jesus and giving my life to Him.

And yet even now, as a Christian adult with a family of my own, I still tend to overthink and overcomplicate life. There is so much I do not know and want to learn—about God, about His kingdom, about how I could bear more fruit for Him. Even so, I am still overwhelmed by the stress of my life and the world around me, and I instead find myself asking questions like:

What is the point of my career? How can I be a better man/husband/father/friend/contributor? Can this broken world be saved?

We can overwork ourselves so easily by focusing on all the mundane details. Instead, when times are tough and depression or despair sets in, we should take a step back and aim to simplify our perspective by trying to find positive answers of identity rather than need. Take the innocent approach a child would. Jesus encourages us to do so, saying, “…your heavenly Father knows that you need {insert specific item(s) here}. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:32-33).

Just as Mister Rogers always told children, God is always telling us that we can make the world a better place by just being ourselves. And when we are not sure how, all we have to do is ask Him!

We should ask questions along the lines of:

How can I generate positive energy around myself and others? What am I thankful for? How can I celebrate today?

Remember, even when you’re feeling blue, it’s not how you look and what you’re wearing, it’s you God loves. Every part of you, just as you are. It’s that simple!

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