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“Unless you become like little children, you can not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” [Mat 18:3]

I’ve heard this many times in the past, and I’ve been asking myself why becoming like children is the “key” to entering Heaven. What does that even mean? Theologians can say many things but this is my personal take, after spending some time with my nephew, Joaqui, who visited me some days ago.

First, it is the child’s purity of heart. A child has a basic goodness that comes out naturally without him/her really trying. Joaqui is wise (even wa-is) and has a disarmingly naughty smile when he knows he’s done something wrong, but he’s never mean. He can be naughty, but even in his naughtiness, he’s not out to defraud. A child acts without any guile-what you see is what you get.

Second, is the child’s ability to dream. For a child, possibilities are endless, everything is new and so everything is just waiting to be known. A child is idealistic. And his idealism is simple: justice ought to be upheld (a child knows when someone is unfair for example and makes sure people know it); you ought to give every man what is due him; you can find hope in seemingly hopeless situations; love is the answer.

We could say that surely life is a lot more complicated and more complex than that.

But if we really think about it, ULTIMATELY, when all is said and done: justice ought to be upheld; you ought to give every man what is due him; you can really find hope in seemingly hopeless situations; love is really the answer!

Everyone knows that the ‘real’ world is unfair. And we can go through life feeling like a victim precisely because the world is unfair. Because people who work hard don’t get what is due them. Because people who cheat get ahead of everyone else.

And yet on the other hand, this desire for basic fairness and justice and the feeling of distaste and anger for injustice–something we learned as children and lost as we grew older–is something we have to learn again. We lost it and became the country of Napoles. We lost it and became the country of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. We have just begun to relearn it lately. We came in droves to Luneta, and shouted at the top of our lungs, in anger and indignation.

I was in Luneta for that Indignation Rally against Janet Napoles and our congressmen and senators and the Pork Barrel. And while we do not know if it matters in the long run, we had to come because we were angry, because we knew something had to be done, because we knew that if we shout loud enough we might be heard, somebody will listen, we will find a way. And so we came. And so we shouted.

And so we became like little children all over again.

[by Eric Santillan]

About Eric Santillan

AngPeregrino is Eric Santillan. He is a management consultant for two firms specializing in sustainable business, competitiveness and risk management, cost control and culture management. During weekends, he does counselling for Clinica Salutare, an Integrative Health Clinic. He is also a writer for The Mindanao Current, a core group member of Heroic Leadership Philippines, and a retreat giver.

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