April 25

Life begins as a quest of the child
to become a man or woman and
ends as a journey by the man or
woman to rediscover the child.

Laurens van der Post


Today's Meditation:

When we were kids, we couldn't wait to be big.  We couldn't wait to be able to do things that we wanted to do, when we wanted to do them, with no one to tell us we couldn't.  There were so many great things that we thought that being grown-up would entail, and we dutifully went about learning what we needed to learn and doing the things we needed to do to "grow up," never realizing while we were in the process that we were leaving behind extremely important parts of who we were.

There are, obviously, many wonderful parts about growing up.  Life is full of many more possibilities when we're making our own money and our own decisions.  We have many more freedoms when we reach certain ages and we're not prohibited from doing many of the things we simply couldn't do as a kid, like decide to take a long drive on a beautiful afternoon and stop somewhere nice for dinner, just because we feel like it.

But as we pursue these freedoms, much of what was valuable in our childhood is left behind, cast away with the limitations that we choose to leave behind.  There is much in childhood that should be left behind--the temper tantrums, the rules and regulations, the pettiness, the crying in order to get what we want. . . all a part of being a child, but not things that we really want to have as a part of our lives for good.  On the other hand, as kids we trust life, we feel awe and wonder for the amazing things we see and feel, we share our feelings and emotions, we're willing to allow others to help us, we're willing to dance and sing whenever we feel like it without worrying about what other people think about us.  We allow our innocence to be an important part of who we are, and we act from that innocence.

As an adult, I do try to reconnect with many aspects of childhood.  I want to be able to have fun without worrying about what other people think about what I'm doing.  I want to look at other human beings with interest and without judgment.  I want to be able to be enchanted and amazed, and I want to be honest with my words and with my feelings.  And I especially want to be in touch with the innocence that could be such an important part of my life and allow me to feel all the other positive aspects of life like it was when I was a child.

Questions to consider:

What's the difference between "childlike" and "childish"?

Why do people teach us as we're growing up that it's important for us not to act like children any more?

How might we go about reclaiming some of the important parts of our childhoods?

For further thought:

Youth is a circumstance you can't do anything about.
The trick is to grow up without getting old.

Frank Lloyd Wright


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