Thursday, September 21, 2006

Teach and Play: What Would Jesus Do?

Although I suppose it's one of those little truths that nearly all of us have been taught by our own children -- the value of listening and the incredible danger of not listening to them -- my thoughts ranged a bit further down the same path -- straying into the area of teaching and playing with our children...

I want to share a quick comment from a visiting priest in our parish, who is from Bangalore, India. During a rather lengthy sermon (about two weeks ago), he commented quietly about the "What Would Jesus Do?" phenomenon. He asked us if we ever noticed the following: Jesus spent his time teaching the adults and playing with the children in the community...while we teach children and spend time playing with adults.

Sometimes, I think we have forgotten that children need to play (especially to play with us) and that adults need to learn (especially from each other). We concentrate on our children's schools and the need to "educate" them; and leave it up to the media, the Internet, and modern electronic gadgets to take care of their playtime. We just don't play with our kids enough - instead we buy "adult" toys, and play with aging adolescents masquerading as adults. In the meantime, we abrogate our parental responsibility to teach each other, as adults, the meaning of community and the process of sharing and caring for each other...setting a example that our children can learn from us--as we play with them. Lessons on tolerance, integrity, honor, and commitment to the common good are a parent's duty and privilege to give to their children. Our legacy should be life lessons and lots of love, not a litany of lost moments; collections of loving memories, not collections of possessions, gadgets, and wealth.

This is one reason I applaud efforts to reach out to adults and teach them to think as leaders, not lemmings. Reason and reasonableness are not dirty words. Putting aside the pundits, the politics, and the prurience in our society leaves so little remaining -- when viewed through the portal of the media -- that I sometimes despair. I am encouraged by efforts to promote reason and reasonable leadership, and I pray for an increase in those efforts.

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