Photo by dancerinthedark from Morgue File
My three-year old daughter loves being outdoors. She frequently asks, in her most appealing voice, Can we go outside? Of all the things she loves to do out of the house, her favorite is swinging on her swing set. There is a swing set at both our house and my parent’s house. When she was smaller, we would swing her in the baby swing. This is a swing with straps on it to keep the little tyke safe and secure. This swing is now occupied by her little sister.
As she has gotten older, she has become quite an accomplished swinger. She loves the freedom of being able to swing on her own. She loves going high and fast. I think she would swing all day long if we allowed her to do so!
I remember as a child, I enjoyed swinging too. I remember I would often pretend (which I was prone to do no matter what I was doing) I was on an airplane or a rocket ship. I would pretend I was soaring through the clouds or blasting off into deepest, darkest space.
I also remember doing the daredevil trick of swinging to a certain height and then jumping out of the swing, seeing if you could land on your feet! Fortunately, my daughter has not discovered this trick yet; or at least, I haven’t seen her doing it. In fact, about a year or two ago, I was at a park with the kids and I decided to relive my childhood and jump from the swing. I must admit, it seemed a bit scarier as an adult then I ever remember it being as a child. Most things look bigger when your child, I suppose because your stature and frame of reference are smaller. But, in the case of the flying swing trick, I discovered some things are the other way around!
Just this morning, just past seven, she wanted to know if we could go outside. I told her it was cold outside. She looked over at me, and with a serious (almost stern) look she replied, But Dad, the trees aren’t blowing! In other words, in her mind, if the wind is not blowing, it cannot be cold! I informed her it did not really work like that.
I think one of the many benefits to having children is that it reminds you of your own childhood. I know for some people, this may not be a pleasant thing; but, I think for most it is an added benefit. It reminds you of how it felt to be young and eager and excited about things like swings, climbing steps, chasing flying bugs and passing choo-choo trains. It reminds you of the sense of adventure in everyday happenings.
The Apostle Paul states, When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. (I Cor. 13.11)
Obviously, the context of this passage is a bit different from our discussion; however, I think it is valuable. At the same time, I see no danger in recalling those youthful, carefree, innocent days of childhood. I think if we did this more often, we may just be surprised at the lessons we could learn.
But sometimes we take ourselves so seriously, we don’t allow any fun and play in our lives. Laughter is a strong remedy for much that ails an adult heart and mind. Of course, there are problems that are severe and adult-sized. But, there are far more that are more mole hills than mountains.
From time to time then, find your way to an old swing or stop and look at the world around you and be inquisitive. Allow youthful excitement to fill your heart as you hear the horn of an approaching train or you spot the smoky tail of a plane overhead. Remember, though you are bigger now, the world is still quite a big place.
So, like the saying goes, Don’t take yourself so seriously . . . no one else does!