There is a difference between childlike and childish.
- Childlike means: like a child, especially in having a sweet, innocent, unspoiled quality
- Childish means: regarded as showing a lack of adult qualities such as emotional restraint, seriousness, or good sense.
It behooves us to note the difference.
No one likes adults who are childish – throwing tantrums, showing a lack of discretion, acting irresponsibly, pretending that their problems will “magically” go away or that life is “fun.”
But adults who are childlike – laughing when something is funny, acting without guile, seeing the wonder in the world – are a joy to be around.
The Gospel of Mark records (and is amplified by Matthew) that Jesus proclaimed that heaven – and we aren’t going to get into what the Gospel writers might have meant by that – was open to those who are childlike.
My best friends are all children at heart.
The Society of Childlike Adults sells a certificate called “The Certificate of The Right to Play.” It grants bearers the right to “walk in the rain, jump in mud puddles, collect rainbows, smell flowers, blow bubbles” and more.
What a wonderful idea!
So, the spiritual-religious advice for the week: have ice cream for dinner or to do something else “childlike.”
(It might even get you into heaven!)