Do you ever wonder why there is so much difference in how a child sees the world and how and adult sees it? I mean besides the obvious fact that they are viewing the world from different heights. Why do kids seem so excited about everything? Why are they so interested in everything? Why do children seem to find so much joy is the smallest of things? How is it that children seem to bounce out of bed the instant the sun rises, dash off the second their feet hit the ground, dart from one thing to another and choose to run rather than walk all day long….and even when they’ve been in such a hurry all day time, for a child, seems to drag on so? How is it that one child-hour is like an adult day, and waiting for a week for a child seems to be equal to waiting for six months for an adult?
It would be easy to assume that it’s all in experience. The child has had little experience with the world, and therefore everything she sees is new and novel. That’s why they stop to examine every single flower along the garden path, why they delight so much in the feel of mud between their toes, why they revel in the smell of lilacs and stand there inhaling, transfixed by the experience, until they run out of breath and start to wobble on their little feet.
But is that really the reason? Botanists say that there are over 270,000 species of flowering plants documented in the world today. Each one is different. I know for certain that I, for one, have only examined the petals of a very small percentage of those! I’ve seen a thousand sunsets, but each one is completely different. Each type of rose in my flower garden has a different, unique and compelling scent…but it’s been years since I went from one plant to another, enjoying their fragrance. There is an endless variety throughout creation, endless possibilities for us to enjoy, endless variations for us to get excited about. And yet, somehow, as childhood ends…we seem to stop noticing that fact.
I’ve reveled in the scent of a desert primrose the instant dusk coaxes it to unfurl its delicate petals…and I’ve walked by the same plant with complete indifference when there were more “important” things on my mind. I’ve even yanked the plants up without a second thought because they started to look weedy.
I’ve been thinking about the difference in how a child sees the world and how an adult sees it, about the way that time now seems to fly by, to slip through your fingers when, as a child, the minutes seemed like hours. I am starting to think the difference is simply this:
The child is appreciating every moment of the day. They notice things, they stop and look and really get a picture of the amazing nature of everything in our world. They pluck a Dandelion gone to seed and rather than seeing a noxious weed ready to spread itself all over the lawn, they notice and appreciate the tiny details God graced on even this most lowly of flowers. They see how each seed is shaped just so, how the surface of each is rough and gray-brown, how the fragile-looking thread that connects seed to beautiful silken parachute seems so delicate, yet is strong as steel. They smile with wonder as the seeds lift from the flower and drift by on the wind, dancing and flashing as the sunlight catches them. They see the moment, they live the moment fully, and they appreciate the moment for the beautiful gift it is.
I notice that when I make an effort to see the world as a little child, I get so much more out of it! When I make the conscious decision to slow down, to really let what I am seeing and feeling and thinking register and sink in, joy seems so much easier to find. When I decide to notice and take note of the beautiful things and people and feelings that God has graciously bestowed on this world, when I walk through my day with gratitude on my mind and when I focus on that…on appreciating and being thankful for all these amazing blessings that are found everywhere I look…then I notice something amazing happening.
Time seems to slow. Grace takes the pace of time down and although I am taking the time to notice, the time to really see and feel and appreciate, some kind of miracle occurs. The time spent in gratitude does not take away from the hours in my day, the limited minutes I have in which to complete the “to do” list. Somehow, spending that time like a child seems to add to the hours in the day, seems to help me accomplish what needs to be done and gives me the gift joy in doing it, too.
My hope for this day, for you and for me, is that we can live it like a child, with appreciation of each detail and joy in each beautiful moment.
I found this fun writing prompt over at Bridget Chumbly’s blog, where she offers a “One Word at a Time” challenge. I’m so glad I did, because it helped me focus this morning and I needed the reminder to appreciate my day like a child! Go and read some other posts by bloggers who are writing about what comes to mind with the single word: Children.