Working with and around children last week was quite a blessing to me, a respite from this dog-eat-dog world where the adults act like children.

Wait a minute, that’s a contradictory statement if there ever was one. I don’t know where the old saying “acting like children” came from, but the children I was around were behaving pretty well. A little goofy at times, maybe, but pretty well. When I got home in the evenings and caught up with the news, though, I saw some adults that could take a few lessons from the kids.

My week consisted of First Baptist Church’s Vacation Bible School, where I help with the cooking and cleanup Sunday through Wednesday every year, and then over the weekend was the 4-H/FFA Expo where dozens of kids endured extreme heat and parting with animals they have treated like pets for a few months.

Anyway, as I sat back – after five grueling days like that a person has to sit – and watched the kids in both places interact, I was amazed at their willingness to accept each other, and to, for the most part, respect each other. At VBS there were white kids and kids of color, kids who have and kids who have not. There were well-dressed kids and those who wore just what they had; skinny kids and big kids.

As I watched them interact by singing songs, eating chicken strips, playing in the gym and flashing smile after smile, I wondered. . . What happens to us? How can we, as a society made up of loving, innocent children who grow up into some of the nastiest people our world can imagine, go from singing “Jesus Loves Me” to hammering our friends and neighbors on social media, dealing opioids, murder and things the normal mind shouldn’t comprehend.

I got home to watch the news one evening and read that a California couple was arrested for strangling their newborn, that a 10-year-old and 14-year-old were shot to death in St. Louis in separate incidents, and a few other atrocities too numerous and awful to mention.

So, what happens to us?

The kids I saw at VBS and the Dent County Commons, and millions more doing similar positive things across America are, in my opinion, incapable of such things. But one of these days, some of them will do things we can’t explain away. Things we can’t understand.

The kid over there. The loner. Will he mastermind a school shooting? . . . That one in the striped shirt. Will she fall victim to drugs and take her mom and dad down with her?

If you could predict the future, see the pain and suffering in store for some of them, surely you would grab them up and hug them and love them and do all you can to stop it. But we can’t predict the future, so we need to treat every kid as though they are standing on the precipice of the slippery slope that leads to these awful things we see in our world today. Because we don’t know if it will be this one or that one, we just know it will be some of them.

Do anything and everything you can, knowing that even if you do, it might not work. But you’ve got to try. Get them to VBS, maybe in the 4-H/FFA Expo or some other positive experience.

The heartbreaking stories you read, the atrocities that seem so common today, the bickering and anger among adults . . . those things numb us to what is going on around our world. So, what do you think it is doing to our children and grandchildren?

I am not so naïve to believe that a few weeks in Vacation Bible School or selling a cage of chickens at the county fair will solve all of our problems. But those things, and adults behaving like adults, should help.

I have some tips for the adults.

Be respectful of other’s opinions and treat them with respect. Keep your cool. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Love people who are nothing like you. Be responsible. React with maturity. Set goals. Invest time in your children and volunteer to help other children. If more of us do those things, our children and grandchildren will be adults in a world much better than the one we have today.