Had a conversation with my 14 y.o. triplets while driving to see the Disney’s animated film Frozen. The topic of maturing from childhood to adulthood came up. One of my daughters mentioned she is no rush to grow up; that if it was up to her, she’d rather stay a child. The conversation then developed in several different directions but the one I wanted to highlight here has to do with what I took from it. It is the idea that growing up has very little to do with age but rather everything to do with perspective. It is not a new concept yet one worth re-learning as frequently as possible.
Through a child’s eyes there is a certain sort of naiveté, of endless hunger for exploring, of constant wonder at what is and what lies ahead.
The Israeli poet Hayim Nahman Bialik (1873-1934) nailed it down in a poem titled One by One and Without Being Noticed. The poem addresses a person’s slow demise into old age and oblivion. The title alludes to the night’s stars as they disappear one by one with the arrival of dawn, much like the poet’s own secret dreams and aspirations. The part of the poem that came to my mind is toward its end:
“I know that only once will a man drink from the golden cup
And a vision of brilliance and splendor shall not rise for a man twice;
As the azure color of the skies and the green hue of the grass
And the hidden light of the entire universe and the facial halo of all of God’s creation,
To which but once will a child’s eye be privileged – once and no more;”
(translation done for context in favor of exact accuracy of Hebrew words)
That is the experience I believe my daughter was referring to, even if she does not yet know the full range of changes ahead of her.
I want to believe that I have such rare moments, moments in which I am awarded a quick sip of that golden cup, brief glances through a child’s eyes.
I am well aware that it is all but a set of mind but I am also conscious that the innocence of a child cannot be easily replicated by a body and mind who had witnessed and, occasionally experienced acts of evil. Yet, I am reminded by today’s lesson that this child’s point of view is a taste well worth striving for, even if, like a thief at night, all I can have is a moment here, a moment there.
Learned from: a chat with my kids and a comment by Karin.