I believe we would all agree that it is not easy to change another person. It is not easy to change a spouse, a friend, or even ourselves. If we really want to bring change, we probably should invest our efforts in a child, because a child is still in the process of becoming the adult that he or she is going to be.
Young children can be easily shaped and molded. They are easily influenced. Values, worldview, attitudes, beliefs, personality and character are in the formation stage. Basic templates about what life is about are being put in place.
Recently, our Springs of Africa website needed an overhaul. The webmaster worked on the basic design and showed me the new template. All of the text was Latin ‘gobble-de-goop’, but it was so exciting to see what the website was going to look like. I told Ibrahim, “Wow, it is almost done.” The page layout was set in place. The color scheme was selected. The ‘look’ and ‘feel’ of the website had been determined.
The next day, I was busy typing away. “What are you working on?” my husband asked. “The website,” was my reply. “But I thought you said that it was ready,” he objected. No, it was not ready; it was still an empty shell. All of the data still had to be put in, but the structures were in place and would not be changed.
We can make a comparison with children; their template is still being written. They can be easily influenced and changes can be made. But as adults we are more like a finished product. Information can be added, but our basic outlook, character or habits do not readily change.
A common Swahili song says, “Ni finyange. Unifanya kua kama upendavyo.” It translates, “Press me. Mold me. Make me what you want me to be.” When I sing these words, I imagine a very strong force that is trying to press on and shape me. I imagine a situation of struggle. Somehow, I recognize that changing me and molding me is not an easy task.
But God wants us to be pliable, like clay in the potter’s hand. In fact, we are asked to be transformed: changed and formed into His image. Where the kingdoms of this world have shaped us instead, may we be ready to change. . . .
Like a child.