“Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance. We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’” (Luke 7:31-32
Elsewhere in the Gospel, Jesus is clearly a lover and advocate for children, but in today’s passage we see He knows their mischievous side as well. I am reminded of the childhood chant, “Sticks and stones ... ,” which was said in rather taunting way, and I am certain the lines that Jesus quotes here were recited in a similar tone. Basically, Jesus uses the example of this childish behavior to take on the critics who taunted John the Baptist and then Him. He points out that people expected these two “children of wisdom” to conform to their standards rather than learn from them.
My husband has helped me to see that I have the capacity to be like the crowds about which Jesus speaks. Sometimes I am too quick to evaluate and criticize, to expect people and situations to conform to my standards. My intention is not to be mean-spirited — ever. It is simply how I lean into life in my analytical way. I never realized that I might come across in the same way as a taunting child. Worse yet, like the crowds in this Gospel, I might have something to learn from a child of wisdom and miss it because he or she doesn’t conform to my standards.
These days I am surrounded by “children of wisdom” and thankfully a little more open to learn from them.