I recently had the joy of spending time with my 15 month great-granddaughter. Her parents were with her so I had lots of time to watch as she learned new skills and experienced things for the first time. Much spiritual literature advises we see the world as a child does, with wonder and freshness devoid of opinions and judgements from past experiences.
I thought a lot about that as I watched Naomi negotiate her way around new environments. We in Ft. Bragg are blessed with a wonderful aquatic center. One pool is designed like a beach where the water washes up with no barrier, just a gentle slope as the water gets gradually deeper.
Naomi had only begun walking on dry land 3 months previously. Here was a new challenge. With her parents by her side she timidly approached the water. With a firm grasp of her father’s had she waded into deeper and deeper water. After several minutes she decided to try it on her own. Falling face forward into the water didn’t discourage her for long. Mom or Dad were close by to set her upright again.
There was a basket of beach balls for kids to use. Many trips were made from the pool to the basket and back again. Look what happens when Dad holds the ball under water and lets it go! Does a blue ball behave like the yellow one? She had to try them all.
Let’s try getting out of the water along the edge with a bank. That required different skills. In and out several times with a determined look .
If you’ve had your own children or been around young ones much, it won’t surprise you to learn that her parents wore out before she did. Naomi was active for more than an hour, practicing, learning, and observing. What a lesson in perseverance!
It isn’t easy, or perhaps even possible, for adults to look at the world without opinions, preconceptions and judgements, but it’s sure fun observing a small child doing so. Perhaps some of her vision will inspire me to be more observant.
“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus