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Friday, October 14, 2011

The Greatest Lesson from Children

In Hook, Peter Pan (Robin Williams) returns Tootle's (Arthur Malet) marbles and, thus, reinspires his ability to believe and fly.

I always sing to my boys at bedtime. Now, I’m no one that you’d have to cringe and cover your ears to hear, I’ve had a few lessons and sung in choir, but I’m far from a professional. Tonight, though, my eldest asked me to sing as beautifully as a princess. I tried to appease him and pulled on every trick I knew, and he kept saying, “No, that’s not beautiful.” When at last I understood that he wanted me to sound just like Aurora in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, I had to detour into an explanation that most people couldn’t sing that well.

But the point was that, for a few minutes, my son believed it possible. I guess he thought I was holding out on him before that. Much as my ego could have done without, “No, that’s not beautiful,” the magic of the whole experience was that, for a few minutes, my son really believed me capable of singing like a Disney princess.

What awesome things our children believe us capable of. A kiss can take away the worst pain from a skinned knee. A spray from a bottle of vanilla and lavender scent can banish monsters. Their daddy can fight off any bad guy, and Mommy can look and sound just like a princess. What wonder they fill their worlds with, and what a blessing it is when they share even a fragment with us jaded, stressed out adults.

When my son lost a tooth recently, he had me call the tooth fairy to ensure she knew and stood by while I spoke with her on my cell. My boys know beyond a doubt that their daddy and I consult with Santa Claus about who will get them what at Christmas. They’re certain the dog can understand them and likes stories and such as much as they do. And “I love you” or “I’m sorry” can transcend any wrong, within about five minutes. Can you imagine if things were so simple for us adults, if broken marriages could be healed with those simple words, if family grown distant over the years could come together and say them and make all well in minutes?

Why can children do this? Certainly, most of them have not been worn down by years of hurts. They lack a greater understanding of life, or perhaps we have lost something they still possess. Perhaps their brains are wired differently than ours. But whatever the reason, children believe. Faith is so ingrained into their little hearts and minds that anything is possible: banishments of monsters, great feats of strength and skill, true beauty, forgiveness, and love under any circumstance.

Some might claim that this is the flaw of childhood, for it reveals naiveté and ill prepares them for the harsh realities of life. But is it not belief that drives us to reach for and sometimes grasp the greatest possibilities? Is it not faith that compels us to keep going when all seems lost, to build that business, to fight cancer, to heal our broken relationships?

Let us look to the abounding faith of childhood for the inspiration to bring beauty and healing into our lives. Perhaps vanilla and lavender don’t really banish monsters, but all it takes sometimes for the impossible to become possible is just a little hope and a drop of faith.


  1. Gee that sounds a little like my kids when they were little!

  2. Must be where mine learned it from. :)