Youthanasia (or another Modest Proposal)


Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)

I like kids. Really I do. I have four of them of my own and am told that I used to be one myself. Kids remind us of the days of innocence and irresponsibility, of that carefree time when somebody else took care of our every need. Kids are proof that no matter how screwed up humanity gets, no matter how much we muck up the planet, no matter how much havoc we wreak on each other, we still like sex enough to make more of us.

In spite of the libido perk, the plain fact of the matter is that kids can be a royal pain in the butt. For one thing, they are a menace to a well-ordered society. I once saw a mom in a grocery store with her toddler, who was around five years old. The mom was trying to coax the kid into the checkout line but the little darling screamed “NO!” and pulled away to run off to a nearby candy rack. The mom called loudly, “Come here!” which the kid ignored. Mom then raised her volume a bit and demanded, “Come here now.” The kid paid absolutely no heed. Finally the mom laid down an ultimatum: “I’m counting to three.” She paused, then barked, “One!” The kid didn’t move.” Mom then fired a second, more volatile shot over the bow. “TWO!” Her little precious was not moved. By now everybody in the checkout lanes was watching and waiting for the Nagasaki to happen. The kid was now rifling though the candy, calling mommy’s bluff. Mommy had no “three” in her; she folded and bribed her kid back in line with the promise of a candy bar. Appeasement is the end of civil integrity. Kids are dangerous.

Aside from the fact that kids are maddeningly distracting, relentlessly demanding, and often demon-possessed, Jesus seems to like them. I can go along with him a little bit on this, but to say that the kingdom of heaven belongs to them is majorly disconcerting. I have visions of getting to heaven and finding it like a kid’s birthday party at a bowling alley. Or maybe like a permanent assignment in the church nursery. Or like sitting next to a crying kid on a 13-hour flight to Hong Kong. Or like watching a doting mom changing a poopy diaper on the floor right in front of you. I sure hope Jesus was kidding.

Look. Kids are byproducts of an otherwise pleasant activity. There’s nothing much we can change about that. We also need kids if we’re planning on going broke when they hit college age. And kids do provide a reason for maintaining a marriage when a couple can’t remember what the other reasons are. Beyond that I’m short on reasons for them. The fact that Jesus likes kids is one of those mysteries like the Trinity or why the Rolling Stones aren’t dead yet. We may never understand. But that’s what makes Jesus so Jesussy.

Considering that Jesus is into them, I suppose we’ll have to let the tykes into heaven. Still, I’m hoping that heaven at least has a cry room. It sounds like I’m going to need it.


2 Responses

  1. “Amen” to heaven’s cry room.

  2. Oh! I thought it was going to be “Youth in Asia”. So solly.

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