Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who had been tasked with taking the kids to a pool party. My friend opined that there were worse things to do because the kids had a blast, even if the parents were not excited about showing off their non-beach-ready bodies. I commented that I am more self-centered in my approach. I worry about the parents because kids tend to find fun wherever they find themselves.
But why don’t the parents find fun wherever they are?
I’ve been around for almost half a century and so I’ve seen it all before. The fact is: I am a pretty jaded lady. It’s pretty hard to impress or shock me. Plato and Aristotle believed that the beginning of wisdom is wonder. That’s exactly why kids will find fun wherever they are: they still wonder at the world around them. We parents just don’t.
Grown-ups know all about how water works. We know that if we slap our hands at it, it will splash us, and everyone who is close. We know that the more directed the blow, the more directed the splash and we might even hit our big brother or sister. Then they might splash back. But, for a little kid, this is all new. It’s exciting to control the water, which seems so vast and mysterious to a little kid and so, well . . . wet to us.
Some of the joy that we experience as parents is the wonder in our own children as they discover the world. Seeing the world through their young eyes keeps our sense of wonder alive. I get to enjoy this all over again with my grandson. The absolute joy he experiences when he find a sparkly rock (which he always gives to me) is magnified in me because I get to see his wonder and mine is awakened in seeing his. It really is almost magical to hear him tell me about “The Lady Moon” and about how beautiful she is.
I think this is what Jesus means when he tells us that our faith must be child-like. We can’t get too jaded. When we lose that sense of wonder about our faith, then we close ourselves off to learning new things. God’s wisdom and His plan for our lives is as vast and mysterious as the water, but we lose the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate it when we decide we’ve seen it all before. Children can show us the way.
Through our contact with them, we discover wonder once more – not just in the world, but in the child themselves. Wonder becomes a shared experience and so it is with the Faith. It’s only through sharing the Faith with those around us that we get to tap into that wonder once more. Sharing our Faith opens us to the opportunity to look at something in a new way. So, whether we share our Faith with another “old hand” or someone who is brand-new to the Faith, we open ourselves to wonder.
Copyright 2017 Katie O’Keefe