I’m a young father with two little kids. Parenting is tiring, especially when your one-year old has been teething for months – like mine has been – but parenting is also a lot of fun. I always enjoy hearing my 3-year old say something funny, such as when he prayed like this. Or when my wife told him last night that she was so impressed by how nice he was to his sister all day and he responded back, “I’m impressed too, Mom!” Or earlier yesterday when my wife was getting him more milk from the fridge and he yelled, “Hurry up, Mom! This is a thirsty boy!”
My short experience as a parent has taught me that little kids are, well, special. I guess I always knew there was something special about little kids – an innocence, sweetness, guilelessness – but I sure have a lot more time to observe them firsthand and reflect on their personalities and natures.
Yesterday afternoon, I was reading a few verses in the Book of Mormon and began looking up scriptures that describe little children. Here is a portion of what I found:
- Infants who die in their infancy do not spiritually perish (Mosiah 3:18).
- Little children have eternal life (Mosiah 15:25).
- Jesus took the little children, “one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them. And when he had done this he wept again; and he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: ‘Behold your little ones'” (3 Nephi 17:21-23).
- Little children are whole; they are not capable of committing sin; and the curse of Adam is taken from them in Christ (Moroni 8:8).
- Repentance and baptism are for those who are accountable and capable of committing sin (Moroni 8:10). Thus, it is solemn mockery before God to baptize little children; they need no repentance, neither baptism (Moroni 8:9,11).
- It is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto little children, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy (Moroni 8:19).
Elsewhere, prophets and even Christ himself taught that we must become like little children: submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love and so forth. These qualities seem to be embodied by little children while other, perhaps less-desirable traits seem to be acquired over time as we get older.
Several years ago, after speaking with a man who was quite cynical about life, I had the realization that cynicism is not something we’re born with – it’s something we learn as we grow into adulthood (or learn to overcome). On the other hand, children are accepting, believing, and optimistic. Perhaps that’s just one reason Jesus taught that we need to become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of God.