Think Like A Child

As an adult watching my children learn about the world, sometimes I feel sad because my childhood is relegated to fragmented memories and trinkets in a dusty shoebox.  Let me clarify that I DO NOT want to go back in time and actually become a child again, but I do wish I could still think more like a child. 

I love how they view life with a sweet combination of innocence and optimism.  My attempts at optimism are soured by hard lessons in reality – betrayals, disappointments and loss.  My adult optimism is miles better than cynicism, but pales in comparison to that of a child.

I envy my children because their first inclination is to trust; no questions asked.  They don’t fearfully approach each day like one would a growling dog.  Although they have seen that children can be mean and friendship fickle, they don’t realize that some adults should not be trusted; they haven’t discovered that people disguised as friends can use them; they don’t know about cautiousness and skepticism; they haven’t found out that the world can be selfish and cold; and they haven’t learned that parents don’t have all the answers.

We do our best to guide and protect our children, but I imagine it will be a disappointment to them when they recognize that my husband and I are flying blind.  Maybe they will appreciate the daily prayers that therapy can reverse any damage we have done.  (Maybe they won’t.)  Perhaps it will help that I pray for each hurt to make them stronger, and that they learn the world isn’t always a gentle place, but if they keep their hearts open, they will surely find kindness, and understand that love is more powerful than hate.  Maybe it won’t help, but I still hope.  Hope is every rung in the ladder leading to all that is good.

Translation (in case you can’t make out all the words):  I am thankful for many things.  I am thankful for my pencil so I can write.  I am thankful for life so I can have fun.  I am thankful for my parents so I can get help when I need it.  I am thankful for school so I can learn new stuff.

My older son brought this paper home on Monday, and as soon as I read it, I knew it would go in my “forever folder.”  I had always suspected that God blessed me with children as a last-ditch effort to teach me some patience (a futile endeavor thus far), but when I look closer, I see so much more than that:  Through them, I’m breathing fresh air. 

I want to be thankful for something as basic as a pencil.  I want to live with an undamaged heart.

Yes, I want to think like a child.

How do you think (or want to think) like a child? 


16 thoughts on “Think Like A Child

  1. T.A. Olivia (aka) Darksculptures December 2, 2010 / 6:02 AM

    Beautiful post. I lament the loss of my childlike innocence all to often. The important thing, for me, is I recognize that I’ve allowed aspects of my life to become somewhat jaded and I try to be more concious of how my reactions to certain situations affect the people around me. Unfortunately this revelation did not draw my attention until a short while ago, but if I learn to forgive myself of my past ignorance and arrogance, I think I’ll also be able to ask for others forgiveness. Being thankful and greatful for all of life (good and bad) is the first step and your post definately affirms the importance of that. Thank you for writing it and allowing us to discuss our personal journey to thankfulness and forgiveness.

    Did I mention you are a fantastic mom!

    • jannatwrites December 2, 2010 / 6:54 PM

      Thank you for your kind comment. I certainly have room for improvement in the ‘mom’ area; if I could just get the hang of that patience thing 🙂

      Recognizing our reactions is a great step to being a little more child-like in our thinking. May we continue on our path to reclaim childlike innocence!

  2. T.S. Bazelli December 2, 2010 / 8:41 AM

    Love it! That paper is something to be treasured.

    One thing I’d like to be able to do again is not to put limits on imagination. People are purple, puppies can talk. I wish I could get back into that mindset where anything is possible 🙂

    • jannatwrites December 2, 2010 / 6:56 PM

      Wasn’t it great to have such an imagination? Now, as an adult, when I have a creative idea, my mind goes right to counting off the reasons why it won’t work. Here’s to purple people and talking puppies 🙂

  3. chlost December 2, 2010 / 9:06 AM

    Definitely filed in the forever folder! Hopefully, the folder is getting thick with papers and projects.

    • jannatwrites December 2, 2010 / 6:57 PM

      Yes, it is a thick folder. I have to be very selective about what I keep, or I’d be overrun with papers! They will be great memories, though 🙂

  4. nrhatch December 2, 2010 / 2:24 PM

    Beautiful post, Janna

    Perhaps the key to reclaiming our childlike innocence is as simple as practicing acceptance, and remaining curious, rather than rushing to judgment.

    • jannatwrites December 2, 2010 / 7:01 PM

      Thank you, Nancy. I like your idea for reclaiming childlike innocence – I’m glad you shared it 🙂

  5. Cities of the Mind December 3, 2010 / 2:17 AM

    Good post, and that kid’s got some writing potential. I mean, “I’m thankful for my pencil so I can write,” is the first thing on his list? I’d say you’re doing things right.

    • jannatwrites December 3, 2010 / 8:33 PM

      He may have potential….yesterday he came home from school with a 36 page comic book he made from stapled sheets of notebook paper. I’m not even going to think about what school work he didn’t get done (or the fact that he will probably get published before me.) Hey, maybe he’ll put in a good word for me 🙂

  6. Ollin December 4, 2010 / 3:30 PM

    Great post. Give thanks to your son for teaching me to be thankful for a pencil, and for life, so that I could have fun. 🙂

    • jannatwrites December 4, 2010 / 6:31 PM

      Thanks, Ollin. I think he’s onto something with the having fun thing…adults should do it more 🙂

  7. jpcabit December 4, 2010 / 5:03 PM

    That line is so great: “I am thankful for life so I can have fun.” It shows such pure thinking!!!

    Great post!

    • jannatwrites December 4, 2010 / 6:32 PM

      I’m glad you liked that, Seph. It sure made me smile!

  8. nrhatch August 18, 2011 / 9:28 AM

    Excellent pick. Enjoyed the re-read. 😀

    • jannatwrites August 18, 2011 / 8:28 PM

      Thanks, Nancy. My son’s thankful list makes me smile every day – a copy is on my cubicle wall at work.

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