Life

As a little child

butterflies 031

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The Bible tells us to become as a little child. Whether or not we start from a Christian viewpoint, this is good advice. Children see the world as an uncomplicated place in many ways. Things have a simple clarity that we forget as the years fold in around us, clouding our eyes with common sense and pragmatism, sealing our sense of adventure within the hide-bound necessities of conformity and convention.

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A child will see no reason why fairies cannot be encountered at the bottom of the garden. Of course broomsticks can fly as far as the imagination, and Santa Claus exists. To a child, these things are not only possible, they are real. And because they are believed in, the results of that belief are also real. Children have ‘imaginary’ playmates.. one only has to listen to ( or remember!) their games and conversations to realise that the interaction is just as complete as with another child. Being good is a prerequisite for a visit from Santa, and conscience buds and blooms in anticipation of Christmas morning.

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The simple acceptance that anything is possible in the great, wide world makes it so. The wonder of eyes seeing life fresh and new is magical, and nothing is impossible. There is a natural magic in their observation of life, from the lazy contemplation of a caterpillar on a hot summer day, to the battles of the sky gods and their cloud dragons in a thunder storm.

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Children carry a logic all their own. Battle lines were drawn in defence of my eldest son’s logic when, as a very young schoolboy, he decided to write about God as ‘She’. He had decided that as God made people, cared for them, looked after things, then logically, God was a ‘she’, as that is what women do. School was horrified and called me in. I did speak to my son about it. Not to correct, but to understand. School was even more dumbfounded by the progression of his logic as he decided that God must be a ‘He-She’.

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Later, my younger son and his friends asked my opinion on a discussion that they were having, wondering if we were just a dream in the mind of God. Or were we just some insignificant activity on the surface of a single particle of some great being.

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Children have no prejudice, until we, the guilty adults, teach them that there are differences to be abhorred or ridiculed. One living creature is much the same as another to a small child. A dog or cat is as close a friend as the child next door. One young lady of my acquaintance decided she was going to be a mother when she grew up and have lots of puppies of her own.

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Another could not sing as she had a poorly finger because Mummy had made her eat cabbage. I never understood that particular train of thought, but she was perfectly serious as she told me.

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Childhood is not always an easy time. Many children suffer horribly though poverty, neglect or abuse, yet there is still that capacity for wonder, for acceptance, for trust in the natural world and the stuff of dreams, even when they have lost faith in people.

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Someone said that culture is what is left if one strips away all one has learned. Perhaps inner childhood is what we could find if we could strip away all we think we ought to have learned, and open our eyes fresh on the world and on ourselves.

2 thoughts on “As a little child”

  1. I believe this to be true. Children are our past, present and future. As I watch my dear mother at age 92 drift in and out of dementia, I see her inner child come through and it makes me happy to see her so contented, with no worries or concerns. It is the happiest I have ever seen her.

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