Saturday, July 24, 2010

Through A Child's Eyes

This past Father's Day my family had a cookout at my Grandpa's house.  I love these special occasions because they seem to be the only time our extended family is all together.  Year after year there are more and more children at these events as my sisters and cousins get married and start families of their own.  As I watched the little ones play -- and yes, as I joined in (the "big kids" are ALWAYS welcome to join them) -- I was struck by their unrestrained joy and the sheer pleasure they found from the simplest things.

My Grandpa bought a golf cart a few years back and as soon as it comes out the kids pile in (and on, wherever they can fit) eagerly, laughing with glee as the one adult on board kicks it in gear and takes off around the yard.

When my uncle's wife brought over a tot-sized slide the kids immediately began clambering up the ladder, eagerly anticipating the two seconds of joy they would experience en route to the ground.

My uncle's wife also brought over one of those round wading pools that miraculously seem to hold as many children as want to swim in it.  There's always room for one more, even when it appears to have reached maximum capacity.  My mom joked that if we set the bottom of the slide in the pool we'd have an instant water slide.  "Do you think it'd work?" I asked.

"I don't know," she replied.  "Try it."  So I did -- and it worked!

There were squeals of pleasure as little bodies piled out of the pool and raced to the slide.  As I watched them I thought to myself, "I can't remember the last time I got that excited about something."  I felt a twinge of jealousy as I wondered, "When did I stop getting excited like that?"  I couldn't remember, but I knew it had happened long, long ago.

I thought about this some more on the way home.  I wondered if children must inevitably lose their unbridled passion as they grow or if there is some way that they can keep it.  I strongly suspect that it is us -- the adults -- who are responsible for smothering it.  In the name of socialization and proper etiquette we quell those ecstatic squeals -- "Shh.  Use your inside voice!"  But maybe, just maybe, it doesn't have to be that way.


  1. If you live in a state of anticipation (like a child does) then you will never lose your zeal for life....

  2. I don't think we have to lose it...but we do forget. Maybe that's why we like to release the inner child.

    I'm a retired clinical social worker. It's great that you write here, I'm sure your work provides lots of material.


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