Just Sayin’: Childlike Wonder

Jon GAlbert Einstein is quoted as saying that there are two ways to live life: “One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Children are experts at the latter, and I’m jealous of them for it. The reason they live as though everything is a miracle, I think, is because of the way they view the world. Many of the things you experience as a kid, you experience for the first time.

But if you see a miracle happen often enough, it’s easy to lose sight of its wonder. Take snow, for example. When I wake up in the morning and I see the white powder covering the ground, I think, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’ Then I crawl back into bed. I’ve seen snow so many times that I no longer see it as some marvelous phenomenon. Rather, it’s something that happens each winter when it gets really cold.

If you put a kid in the same situation, he’ll respond in a completely different way. He’ll put on his hat and mittens, realize he can’t put on anything else with mittens on his hands, take them off, put on some pants (snow pants if he has them), pull on his boots, zip up his coat, then run outside into the wonderland of snow where he’ll play, building forts and men out of snow and, as Relient K puts it, “create the impression of an angel that just fell from the sky” until his mom calls him inside.

As adults, we want to solve every mystery life has to offer. That’s how God created us. We are inquisitive by nature, and when we search for answers, we learn more about our creator. But children don’t think this way. They’re content with the mystery, and I think this is a good way to approach life sometimes. I like it that we don’t know the identity of the Loch Ness Monster or if aliens exist, and I hope that it stays this way.  I’m fine with not knowing.

Kids also have no filter. They don’t care about other people’s opinions. They will say whatever is on their mind with no fear of humiliation. They care nothing about being politically correct, and they don’t beat around the bush. Instead, they get straight to the point.

If you’re one of those people who strongly dislikes kids, I feel sorry for you. We have so much to learn from them. They view the world through a different lens than we do, which is why it’s unfortunate that so often, adults treat kids with a “seen, not heard” mentality.

One of my favorite authors, Dr. Seuss, didn’t overlook children. He even wrote, “Adults are just obsolete children.” One reason his books resonate with readers of all ages is because he wrote them for kids, and he didn’t care what adults thought of his writing. He tackled important issues in ways that children could understand.

“The Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before,” Seuss writes in his Christmas classic. “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!”

Here, Seuss attacks the materialism that is rampant throughout the Christmas season, saying that the holiday has a deeper meaning. Because he presents this idea in a simple way, it sticks in our heads.

No one understood children as much as Jesus. When the disciples tried to prevent kids from meeting Jesus, he rebuked his followers.

“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Luke 18:16-17)

God’s gift of salvation doesn’t make sense if you think about it rationally. Why would the holy, omnipotent and omniscient creator of the universe sacrifice his only son to save the creatures who rebelled against him for thousands of years? Even crazier, why don’t we have to do anything to earn this salvation?

It doesn’t make sense. We’ve developed this mindset that if we want something, we have to earn it. If we work, we’ll get paid. If we study, we’ll get good grades (if only that were true all of the time). If we live a good life, we’ll go to heaven.

But that’s not how it works. If salvation were that logical, it would not take much faith to accept.

This is why we see many children accepting Christ at young ages and why, sadly, many of them walk away from God when they become adults. The world tells them that Christianity doesn’t make sense, that they can’t trust a God they can’t see.

The child doesn’t ask questions. She just accepts it at face value.

The child’s greatest power, however, may be finding joy in the ordinary, in the things that adults would call boring. Children know you can’t find joy in a paycheck or a bottle. You can’t buy it in a jewelry store or a car dealership.

Joy comes from the little things in life: a game of tag, a sleepover, an ice cream cone. There’s happiness in cardboard boxes and hide-and-seek. Kids know how to appreciate life, because they treat it as a miracle.

You’re never too old to have fun. Don’t get me wrong. You’re not a kid anymore; you have responsibilities, such as passing your classes and doing your own laundry. There are things you have to shed when you grow older. Tantrums, Happy Meals, Pokemon, I could list dozens more. But whatever you do, make sure you don’t lose your capacity to have fun.

Release your inner child this Christmas break. Build a snowman. Throw snowballs at your friends (don’t aim for the head). Grab a sled and find a big hill, and ride until your face is red and your voice is hoarse.  And when you’re not playing outside, talk to children and see what they can teach you. You may learn more than you think.

And as you celebrate the birth of God’s son, try to view life as though it’s a miracle, because it is. Every breath, every heartbeat, every blink, twitch and sniff is made possible only by the grace of God. All these little miracles help make up the big miracle that we call life.

Merry Christmas, kids. Here’s to many more.

Jonathan Gallardo is a senior journalism major and sports editor for Cedars. He enjoys creative writing, quoting Lord of the Rings and listening to Christmas music in November.

Tell Jonathan what you would like him to write about. Send your questions, comments or concerns to jgallardo@cedarville.edu

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