Rabbi Meir said: When the Jews stood before Sinai to receive the Torah, G‑d said to them: "I swear, I will not give you the Torah unless you provide worthy guarantors who will assure that you will observe its laws."…

The Jews declared, "Our children will serve as our guarantors!"

"They truly are worthy guarantors," G‑d replied. "Because of them I will give the Torah."

(Midrash Rabba, Song of Songs 1:4)

Of the many childish qualities which set apart the "maturity challenged" youth from their adult counterparts, two are very stark and blatant.

1) A child's entire focus is on the here and now. The past is a non-existent bygone, and the future—an even more non-existent dream. The younger the child, the more non-existent is all but the present.

For example: On Sunday morning, the average adult wakes up and thinks about his goals for the day ahead—be they taking care of responsibilities or chores, or indulging some desires and hobbies which are reserved for weekends. Only after creating some semblance of a plan does the day begin in earnest.

“Yesterday” is code word for “completely irrelevant past”; “tomorrow” is code word for “utterly irrelevant future”…A child, on the other hand, wakes up and his first thought is: "What do I do now? Do I jump on Mom's head to wake her up? Or can I more wisely utilize Mom's sleep time by climbing the china closet to purloin some of the sweets she's hidden there?" The day ahead is completely irrelevant; all that matters is living in the moment.

This is also why every child-raising book speaks of the importance of immediate consequences – positive or negative – for youngsters' actions. This is for two reasons: a) the warning of a future [i.e. non-existent] reward or punishment will not impact what the child will do in the [very real] present. b) If the consequence is delayed, the child can't comprehend why he's receiving a very real punishment/reward for an abstract act which has been relegated to the annals of immaterial history.

Interestingly, I've noticed that young children refer to any prior date as "yesterday," and anything which will occur in the future, no matter how distant, is part of "tomorrow." How far in the past or future is unimportant; "yesterday" is code word for "completely irrelevant past", and "tomorrow" is code word for "utterly irrelevant future"…

2) Every child considers himself to be the very cog around which the world revolves; the sole purpose of every G‑d-created being is to serve him. Every game and latest gadget was invented with him in mind, and how dare Mom and Dad – who were also put on Earth to serve him – deny him his birthright! And when they do capitulate to his whimpering and moaning and buy the toy, the nerve of them to suggest that he share it with a sibling!

The importance of global upheavals and momentous scientific discoveries pale in comparison to a lollypop. If it doesn't affect him, it just doesn't matter.

This is why children must be trained to feel and express gratitude. Not because they are naturally unappreciative, but because they fail to understand why, for example, they must be grateful to parents who are just performing their duty. Thanks is due to a creature who has a life and aspirations of its own who selflessly chooses to forgo his own benefit to help another. This certainly does not apply to the parent whose life's purpose is to cater to his every wish. Thanking a parent is akin to showing appreciation to the school bus which transports him to school!

How much more would each of us accomplish if we were childishly eager to utilize the present moment to its utmostThese two childish qualities clearly have serious downsides. Thankfully, people mature—for living in a world wherein people remained exclusively focused on themselves without consideration for others would be unimaginable. And the human would still be living in caves if he lacked the capacity to plan for the future. However, there is much to be learned from the child's perspective.

"Do not say 'When I will have free time I will study,' for perhaps you will never have free time" (Ethics 2:4). How much more would each of us accomplish if we were childishly eager to utilize the present moment to its utmost, instead of delaying important goals for an imaginary future? Furthermore, how many people's ambitions are hampered because they dwell in the non-existent past—frightened into inaction by past failures, or lacking motivation because they rest on the laurels of prior achievements?

"Every person is obligated to say, 'The world was created for me'" (Sanhedrin 37a). You are not an insignificant cosmic speck; you are the reason why the world was created. G‑d Himself waits for you to fulfill the purpose of creation by studying some more Torah and observing yet another mitzvah.

Perhaps this is why G‑d enthusiastically accepted the children as guarantors for the Torah. The message is plain: Torah is intended for "childish" people who realize that 1. there's no time like the present, and 2. you are the one chosen to do it!