Children are the best reality check. We adults sometimes think we have this body of knowledge from having lived through so many things that makes us better equipped to understand life. But every now and then I see a child zero in on the basic, elemental things. Like a sense of wonder at the beauty of the earth. Like the need to touch the ones we love...holding hands, hugging, just touching. Like the pure joy of moving through space with the bodies we were given.
I hear the echoes of the child in the voices of adults who see the season's first lightning bug, or notice that the rose bush has burst into bloom. I used to roll my eyes at talk about our 'inner child'. It sounded contrived to me; like psycho babble. But somehow, writing for children makes me recognize the truth in the phrase. It's not that we become children again, because that very body of knowledge I mentioned earlier is a barrier to re-entry. Instead, it is being open to the incredible world that surrounds us, being mindful of the pure imagination it took to think of all creatures, great and small. And that most complex of all creatures, our fellow humans. An intentional shift away from dwelling on the trumped up worries of modern life can bless us again with joy in the simple gifts. A childlike joy. Not childish. But childlike. Because kids get the important stuff.