What I love about children is that they are so resilient. They seem fragile & yet they can adjust to almost anything. What helps them to make transition easier than adults is because the younger they are, the less expectations they have. I don’t mean pessimism where one lowers his or her expectation anticipating disappointment. What I mean is due to their limited life experiences, they are not exposed to all the possibilities. In other words, they don’t know what to expect, and that’s a gift.
Last Saturday afternoon, because the training center doesn’t provide dinners on weekends, my family & a friend visited Chinatown. There were so many choices to choose from, but because we didn’t know what was good, we couldn’t decide. Something else always looked better. Our hesitation also stemmed from an underlying concern as well. A week prior Jeanette, Ethan & I had food poisoning from some Indian food.
After hesitation and wandering, we ended up going to a mall above a train station where there are little food courts and eateries. I decided to go with a safe choice… KFC. KFC seemed to satisfy my daughters too. Not only because it was good, but it helped us to feel less homesick. I even had sweet tea, which I never used to order back in the States. A $4 meal brought such comfort & joy to our hearts.
You would be surprised to know what you could live without until you don’t have a choice. Living without TV/ movie, air conditioning or a car seemed unthinkable 2 weeks ago, but it has become part of our everyday now. Right now my family is staying in 2 small dorm rooms, but again they have become cozy places of refuge, rejoicing & rest.
Now that we have less option, you would think that life would become more unbearable, but the opposite is what has occurred. Because there is less option, we make the most with what is in front of us. Not stopping there, you begin to appreciate it more & savor it. It is here that I enjoy toast with butter (actually some form of unrefrigerated margarine) & bananas. I have it every day. Cold showers have never felt better and we often go without turning the water heater on which we were told to have on only while we are using it.
Less expectation, less option seem to lead us to higher contentment.
I’m generally speaking here, but another reason why children can make a transition to a new environment easier than adults is because there are many things that they don’t have to worry about. That’s the blessing of childhood. They have this assumed confidence that their parents will take care of everything, and to an extent, it is true. I will do almost anything for my children. Therefore tomorrow is something that children don’t have to think about & they don’t unless we give them reasons to worry about it.
How I wish I could have pure faith of a child, faith that never questions the Father’s goodness & greatness.
The truth is it is always God who is leading us. Whether you’re a missionary or Christian professional or Christian teacher or business owner. It doesn’t matter. But because it is our Father in heaven who leads, we can be sure that He will pave the way, protect us & provide what we need. Adjusting smoothly to a new place where you’ve never been physically or metaphorically depends not on our ability to foresee, prepare & compensate, but on our assumed trust in the One who alone is sovereign & who by grace loves us.
In the biblical narratives, we read about countless lives making extremely difficult transition to foreign lands against obstacles & human logic.
The answer is quite simple. It is because they have never doubted where the command to go came from & who was with them every moment. Personal expectations & desires weren’t part of the biblical equation… only the conviction that their greatest reward, they already possessed in God (Genesis 15:1b).
It doesn’t take a lot to know what our children want in life & not what they think they should want. All you have to do is to hug them tightly & every child’s heart will gush out in pure joy. They innately know what they need the most in life, and as long as they have access to our love & attention, they can adjust to anything. We have so much to learn from these little ones.