Living in the present

Living in the present

Young children can be very good at living the spirit of today’s Gospel:

Do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

If a young child’s parents are close by, they have nothing to worry about. When something troubles them, they turn to Mum or Dad for resolution. Then they quickly forget what troubles them, and return to their games.

As they get older, of course, that changes. Older children often look forward to the future: “When I’m a grown up . . . ” Adults are the same. We imagine our future life; we plan our studies and career moves; and we can easily live in the future at the expense of the present.

Adults also go to the other extreme: living in the past. Fondly recalling happy memories. Or stewing over old grudges. But again, young children can teach us a better way. When kids have cause for offence — and they do have a refined sense of justice, so they are offended, for example, when their slice of cake is smaller than their neighbour’s — they will object loudly. But children are also quick to forgive. They don’t hold on to bitter feelings. They don’t do resentment. Kids have short memories and live in the present.

Nearly all the vices are rooted in the future: fear; avarice; lust; ambition. But gratitude looks to the past and love to the present. Maybe this is why young children so excel at gratitude and love.

2 Comments

  1. Florence
    Mar 2, 2014

    Fr John. I like this article very much. Yes, children are able to forgive easily because of their innocence. It is very important for children when they become adults to retain their innocence for if they do, then it would be easy to forgive, to be grateful and also to be loving adults.

  2. Anne
    Mar 3, 2014

    Thanks Fr John is this where we are reminded of the words of Jesus “unless you become like one of these etc……..”(Mt 18:3)
    A child’s innocence is so precious. I deal with people whose innocence was taken from them at times as young as 5 years of age and the “future” is so awful. Loss of innocence means loss of mandates to grow and be as the Creator had intended.