Childish or Childlike

Reflections by Maxie Dunnam

With many of you here at Kirby I’ve had fear that someday people, talking behind my back, would accuse me of being childish. The dictionary defines childish as having “immaturity and lack of poise.“ As an 88 year old, I certainly didn’t want to appear “immature.” And goodness knows, I have privately considered myself as having poise. 

Being a “person of the Book,” I remember that, when he became an ardent follower of Jesus, Paul said, I put away childish ways. However, I was forced into putting that in sharper perspective when I remembered Jesus’ word: “Let the little children come to me, for to such belongs the Kingdom of heaven.” 

I’ve had to conclude that there is a difference between childish and childlike… Rather than having “immaturity and lack of poise” as the dictionary defines childish ,“ childlike is “marked by innocence, trust, and simplicity.” 

No wonder I like Eric Marshall and Stuart Hamphill’s Children’s Letters to God. One little boy prayed, “Dear God, I’m sorry I was late for Sunday School, I couldn’t find my underwear.” And another little boy prayed, “Dear God, please tell me where everybody came from, and I hope you explain it better than my daddy did.” Children are open and alive. They have a perception that we adults seem to have lost. Best of all they have the capacity of what I call living lightly. They’re not burdened down by preconception. Their lives are not predetermined by force of habit. They’re not closed to others because of sour experiences. They don’t keep grudges. 

So for God’s sake, and for our community’s sake, let’s not be childish. Let’s pray and work hard at being childlike

-Maxie Dunnam