Is it possible, for just a moment, for you to think of the child you once were? You just had a memory, didn’t you? What were you doing that summer, when you felt so carefree? What were you doing when you were smiling and laughing with complete sincerity and inhibition? What was the thing that inspired you? Who inspired you? What interests did you have? What books did you enjoy, if any? What did you enjoy doing, watching, learning? Did you enjoy being with many people, or being alone? Maybe you could enjoy both. Did you like to try new things? If not, why not? What does that tell you about yourself? Did you love time spent with your pets and laying in the grass looking at clouds? Did you run just for fun? or play tag and cheer on your friends as they tried to “escape” to base? Can you see the child you were in the adult you are? If not, what is missing?
As a parent, I can go back to the memory of my kids chubby little faces and remember the unique gifts and personality traits in each of them. One liked personal orderliness, the other physical discipline and fact memorization. One liked reading many books, the other enjoyed watching the movie. One was a little entrepreneur, another would give away every cent. One loved to color, the other loved music. One loved pretending and entertaining, the other a quiet corner reading historical stories. One loved to see soldiers train, another would cry at the thought of war. One was competitive, the other laid back…so you get the idea, each one so different and gifted. As my children get older and enter adulthood, I subconsciously look for these traits to resurface (manifested a bit more maturely) . It’s like a gauge that tells me if they are dream- living; being the person they are designed to be. I’ve seen the correlation of this to personal peace of mind and fulfillment. It’s common for the pressures of life to interfere. You remember the thieves in your own life, don’t you? Rare is the person who doesn’t lose some things..for awhile. Maybe it’s part of growing up. We see if everywhere–the preteen who thinks it’s uncool to like ____ or _____, trying so hard to like ______instead. My theory is that the pressures of society(school, church, neighbors), self-doubt, fear (of failure…of letting someone down), all chip away at the simplicity of the full life intended for each individual. Every person is wired with uniqueness and interests. Most people easily agree with that statement, but they don’t agree in action. Just try to do something “unconventional” and see what happens. Yep, big-time resistance. But in that simple place of childhood, it’s easy to see what those things were that made up “you”. As we gain social consciousness, we sometimes set aside simple joys based on the pressures previously mentioned. This starts a vicious cycle of loss; a life uninspired; dull and monotonous; void of interests and aspirations. I don’t think we were designed to live like that. No parent wants that for their children, but we’re all too quick to accept it for ourselves. I’m taking heart. Not all hope is gone. It is in the state of remembering what is lost that we gain perspective to take back ground. Maybe it’s a glimpse of the innocence in our own children that remind us of what is possible. We dare to hope for our own children, that they will always have that beautiful spark we saw in them when they were free to dream. When we see them lose track of time working on “the next big idea”, we know exactly what they feel like. We remember. It’s a beautiful place and worth fighting for. It takes a conscientious effort to defy societal pressure. I want to give some ammunition to this cause. I want the arsenal to be full for those up for the fight. I want my children to fight the status quo and go for gold-the gold found in meaningful relationships, enriching experiences and simple joys. Our mantra as we march is a hearty “No regrets” chant that seems to resonate inside our hearts and feed the little courage we have. I find it interesting that there are always those in the shadows feeding doubts, but you never really see their face. It is their anonymity that clues us in to the truth-they are with the enemy. Disregard them. Live simply, love deeply, and give generously (as my daughter Bethany would say). That will feed your soul. Choose experiences over things and remember the child you are; gifted; worthy; capable to fulfill every dream entrusted to you from the hand of God. It wasn’t just “by chance” that you enjoyed a summer day, a walk in the field with your horse, an afternoon of drawing or reading…It was a memory gift to be opened throughout life, to keep your precious ground safe from the dream thief.