Monday Musings, Recommended Readings
Leave a Comment

Retaining our childlike awareness and joy

While on a writing break, I’m taking the time to share some of my favorites from the More to Come archives. I am still every age that I have been — a longer version of this piece — was originally posted on March 5, 2018. With a birthday coming in just a few days, this story is a good personal reminder that we can always call upon the joy and wonder we experienced as children, because we’re still that age.


I’ve recently taken to reading several children’s books, a trend that began a few years ago when I reread the classic A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I was drawn back to that particular book at a time when our family was dealing with hip replacements, birthdays, and other challenges of adding years to our lives. With those changes, I was comforted by L’Engle’s thoughts on how we should age:

“I am still every age that I have been. Because I was once a child, I am always a child. Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be… This does not mean that I ought to be trapped or enclosed in any of these ages…the delayed adolescent, the childish adult, but that they are in me to be drawn on; to forget is a form of suicide… Far too many people misunderstand what ‘putting away childish things’ means, and think that forgetting what it is like to think and feel and touch and smell and taste and see and hear like a three-year-old or a thirteen-year-old or a twenty-three-year-old means being grownup. When I’m with these people I, like the kids, feel that if this is what it means to be a grown-up, then I don’t ever want to be one. Instead of which, if I can retain a child’s awareness and joy, and ‘be’ fifty-one, then I will really learn what it means to be grownup.”

Living through what you know and who you have been from the years of life is a way to understand current circumstances and embrace new possibilities. The quote popped into my head as I was thinking of L’Engle and the buzz about the A Wrinkle in Time movie that was being released about the same time. The folding of space and time is at the core of the story, as is the power of love over evil.

My children both read the book when they were young, and it remains among the most influential of their lives. My wife took a week-long writing class led by L’Engle almost 30 years ago and returned with a copy of “Wrinkle” signed by the author to me.  I pulled it out one weekend when a colleague said she had been encouraged by my earlier note to “read when it is inconvenient” and — in the midst of a busy week of board meetings — I began to re-read the book before the movie’s launch. 

Signed copy of A Wrinkle in Time
A prized copy of “A Wrinkle in Time”

As we face the years ahead, I’ve taken to thinking anew about what it means to be three, thirteen, twenty-five, forty, and (ahem) more all at the same time.  L’Engle’s push to retain a child’s awareness and joy seems like a great place for all of us to begin. There’s no time like the present.

More to come…

DJB

NOTE: Here are other posts on More to Come examining joy, wonder, and a childlike awareness of what is around us.

Image of young girl by Sergy Nemo from Pixabay.

This entry was posted in: Monday Musings, Recommended Readings

by

I am David J. Brown (hence the DJB) and I originally created this personal blog more than ten years ago as a way to capture photos and memories from a family vacation. After the trip was over I simply continued writing. Over the years the blog has changed to have a more definite focus aligned with my interest in places that matter, reading well, roots music, and more. My professional background is as a national nonprofit leader with a four-decade record of growing and strengthening organizations at local, state, and national levels. This work has been driven by my passion for connecting people in thriving, sustainable, and vibrant communities.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.