by David Sisler

There is nothing more precious than a child. I know first hand, because God blessed Bonnie and me with four of them.

One of my favorite books is "A Special Trade," by Sally Whittman. I first "found" this 28 page story watching Captain Kangaroo with one or the other of our kids. It is the story of Nelly and Old Bartholomew. Because they are always together, their neighbors call them "ham and eggs." Bartholomew pushes Nelly in her stroller, even on the coldest day of winter. But as the pair gets older, things begin to change. And that change produces the "special trade."

I would give credit for the stories which follow, if I could. They came to me via one of those e-mails which was forwarded from one computer to another and through several dozen lists. So, if you deserve the credit, please accept my applause, and my apologies for the changes I have made.

A man was asked to judge a contest to find the most caring child. The winner was a four-year-old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

A group of first graders were discussing a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture had a different color of hair than the other family members. One child suggested that the boy was adopted. A little girl said, "I know all about adoptions because I was adopted." "What does it mean to be adopted?" asked the teacher. "It means," said the girl, "that you grew in your mommy's heart instead of her tummy."

Driving home from work one day, a man stopped to watch a local Little League baseball game. As he sat down behind the bench on the first-base line, he asked one of the boys to tell him the score. "We're behind 14 to nothing," he answered with a smile. "Really," I said. "I have to say you don't look very discouraged." "Discouraged?" the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face. "Why should we be discouraged? We haven't been up to bat yet."

Alan was trying out for a part in a school play. His mother knew that he had set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would not be chosen. On the day the parts were awarded, she went to pick him up after school. Alan rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement. "Guess what Mom," he shouted, and then blurted out a lesson in perseverance: "I've been chosen to clap and cheer."

Sarah was born with a muscle missing in her foot and wears a brace all the time. She came home one day to tell her parents she had competed in several races at "field day." Her father tried to think of a way to encourage Sarah, but before he could speak, she said "Daddy, I won two of the races!" And then Sarah said, "I had an advantage." His first thought was she must have been given some kind of physical advantage. But again, before he could say anything, she said, "Daddy, I didn't get a head start. My advantage was I had to try harder!"

A little boy stepped off the Sunday school bus and stumbled over his untied shoe strings. The pastor, dressed in full clerical garb, stooped down, tied the boys shoes, tousled the little fellow's hair and scurried him off to class. When the boy returned home, he ran into the house and shouted, "Guess what, Mom! Today God tied my shoes!"

A four-year-old was at the pediatrician for a check up. As the doctor looked into her ears, he asked, "Do you think I'll find Big Bird in here?" The little girl did not answer. Next, the doctor took a tongue depressor and looked down her throat. He asked, "Do you think I'll find the Cookie Monster down there?" Again, the little girl was silent. Then the doctor put a stethoscope to her chest. As he listened to her heart beat, he asked, "Do you think I'll hear Barney in there?" "Oh, no!" the little girl replied. "Jesus is in my heart. Barney's on my underpants."

With all of the faith and the naivety of little children, is it any wonder that Jesus said unless we are converted and become like children we won't even see the kingdom of heaven?


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 7/17/99

Copyright 1999 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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