Childhood was a blessing. A complete blessing. The places I visited, the lessons I learned, and the moments I’ve never lost. When you’re a child you just see the world in a different light. I think, as we get older we start to build walls around that light and it becomes lost. But no matter how high you build that wall, the child in you will never leave your heart.
You walk around, holding your moms hand, looking both ways before crossing the street. Sometimes you run because you want to show everyone how fast you can go or swing really high in hopes when you jump off you might fly away. You jump in the frigid water, holding your breath and if you’re brave, sometimes you even open your eyes under there.
As a child you never feel like you stand out. No matter where you go, you don’t care who’s there or what they think. As you get older, you almost feel like an alien sometimes. You feel like there is nobody out there like you. Why must I stand out?, you think. How do you see me?
Children are so simple. You buy them a book or a few Legos and it’s like they are set for life. I remember getting a happy meal as a kid and getting a cool new toy and it was just the best thing ever. We are so easily pleased. Even a chocolate chip cookie could have me smiling for hours. We lose that simplicity, as we get older.
The world changes us as we get older. Experiences, history, and lessons we learn along the way. The innocence and ability to see clearly is gone. Everything becomes colored in this new life. This new color is so bright, sometimes blinding. We look at it for so long that sometimes we become blind to everything else.
As an adult, I ask myself quite a bit, “What if?”… As a child I went hiking through swampy woods, canoed across a lake, jumped off a diving board much too high for my liking, and rode a horse. Never once did I ask myself, “What if?”.
Imagine taking that first breathe, imagine taking your first steps. We defiantly didn’t worry about falling. We then became so busy exploring everything in our environment and this is when we really opened our eyes. We quietly observed our siblings, we were never reluctant to take on new challenges, and I think I can say with confidence we were impulsive risk takers. No wonder we needed naps!
These experiences shape us. We learn our passions, our fears, our motivations, and our opinions.
I don’t know about you, but I liked it best when I was a child. When I had Popsicle juice dripping down my face or when I would ride my bike down the road and test how far I could get before the neighbors dog came charging at me. It was my biggest worry at the time. How far I could get. I remember the times my sister and me would go through the deep grass looking for flowers to bring to the nice lady down the road. She always gave us jellybeans. It was worth the scratches and bruises, and the occasional bug bite.
I loved that time. Before things got messy.
I’m going to tell you a story, one of my many favorites…
“One day a very wealthy father took his son on a trip to the country for the sole purpose of showing his son how it was to be poor. They spent a few days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. After their return from the trip, the father asked his son how he liked the trip. “It was great, Dad,” the son replied. “Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked. “Oh Yeah,” said the son. “So what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father. The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.” The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “It showed me how poor we are.”
“Too many times we forget what we have and concentrate on what we don’t have. What is one person’s worthless object is another’s prize possession. It is all based on one’s perspective. I’m thankful for what I have, not jealous for what I don’t. The more I understand about where I am, and understand what it is I want and need for my family and my children, the better I am able to make good decisions as a husband and a parent. When I’m aware of how my decisions affect others, I’m better able to make ones that are not only good for me and my family, but good for my community, my region, my country, and even our planet. Sometimes it takes the perspective of a child to remind us what’s important”.