Never Ending Smiles

Gratitude Day 312

Thurs., Aug. 1, 2019

Luke 18:15-17 – Some people brought even their babies to Jesus so he could touch them. When the followers saw this, they told them to stop. But Jesus called for the children, saying, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to people who are like these children. I tell you the truth, you must accept the kingdom of God as if you were a child, or you will never enter it.”

Look carefully at the smiles in the pictures with this post. They will make your day. The kids, the players, the people standing by; they all have smiles.

Jul 25, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison (81) rides a bicycle to the first day of training camp at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The National Football League (NFL) started training camp this week. The Green Bay Packers have a long-standing and super cool tradition. Kids line-up with their bikes by Lambeau Field. They are hoping and waiting for a player to pick their bike and ride it across the street to the practice field.

The parade of bikes going from one location to the next on a specified route is something some Wisconsin kids look forward to all summer. It truly is one of the best traditions in all of the NFL.

Jul 25, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker Curtis Bolton (40) rides a bicycle to the first day of training camp at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Notice grown men riding pink Barbie bikes. Sometimes with training wheels. Or 300 lb. guys trying to balance themselves on bikes that weight less than they do. One in a while, there will be a Packer player who finds a cool bike on which they almost fit. And then, they pedal past the thousands of people line-up and high-five them as they ride by.

The kids walk along side the player riding their bike. Usually, they carry the player’s helmet.

I have no clue who came up with this idea. Or how it started. But it’s a good one.

Green Bay Packers cornerback Josh Jackson high-fives fans while riding a bike to practice at the first day of training camp on July 25, 2019 in Green Bay, Wis. Gpg Trainingcamp 072519 Sk32

Sometimes, we forget to enjoy the amazement and awe of a child. These kids may or may not know who the player is riding their bike. The who is not nearly as important as the why. These kids just want 30 seconds of feeling like someone saw them. They look forward to connecting with these guys who is wearing green and gold. Whether the players realize it or not, they are making the day for all those little people whose bikes they are riding.

Sometimes, we like to protect “important” people from people on the fringes. People who are too young or from the wrong social class from coming into contact with a very important person. Jesus broke down these barriers when he demanded that the children has the same access to him as adult people.

Maybe Jesus needed a break from all the postulating adult people he often had to deal with. Maybe he just wanted to laugh. Possibly, he was trying to make a point. Whatever the reason, I’m sure glad he told those present, and says to us today, “Accept the kingdom of God as a child. Otherwise, you won’t get to experience it.”

We know professional sports are big business. Unfortunately, some of those guys riding bikes today will not make the final Packer’s roster. Do the kids who brought their bikes to Lambeau Field today really care? I just don’t think so. For today, getting to hold the helmet of someone they looked up to was enough.

Think about the kids who gathered around Jesus. Did they really know who this man was … or were they so excited that an adult wanted to play Legos with them? That day, playing Legos or whatever game first century Jewish kids played, was enough.

Jul 25, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packer Mason Crosby (2) rides a bicycle to first day of training camp at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

How might you engage with a young person today in a manner that will be enough for them? Go for a bike ride. Take them for ice cream. Play catch. Color with them. Spending time with them will put a smile on their face. Most likely, it will plaster one on your face as well. There is a good chance it may be a day that the kid won’t forget for a very long time.

For lessons from children that never grow old, I am grateful.

Holy God – forgive us for forgetting to look at the world and life through the eyes of a child. Restore some childlike qualities in us today. May we find a little person with whom we can share a special moment today. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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