I spent a few hours on Saturday and all of this morning in the company of my sweet, bright, 4-year-old great-grandson, Xavier. I know, all grandmas and great-grandmas say that about their little ones, but in this case I am not just sharing bragging rights. This little man has the most imaginative and magical outlook on life of any 4 year old I have every known. Spending time with him helps me to regain my perspective on life.
At the age of 4, Xavier is a master video game player. He has a very strong sense of right and wrong, and when one of his TV characters is in some sort of trouble, he takes it very personally, wringing his hands until they have been saved by their own ingenuity or the intervention of the inevitable super hero. He can be totally realistic and down to earth one minute, and the next he is rolling on the floor in a fit of giggles over the antics of a pink, battery-operated hippo with wings that flap as she sings. He can spend an hour patiently rolling, slicing and dicing play dough, then decide that he has an overwhelming need to run from one side of the room to another just to release all that pent up energy in a productive way. He loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, following in a long line of lovers of the Great Mouse dating back to his great-grandma and the original Mickey Mouse Club on black and white TV! He also believes that Spider Man is a superhero you can depend on – he obviously sees flaws in the others that we can’t. I trust his judgement.
Xavier teachers me to be open to anything. He demonstrates the ability to be totally focused on what he is doing one minute, and then move on to the next one with total abandon and an all-out attitude His motto is play big or don’t play at all. He sees magic in a flower and channels joy watching birds in flight.
Sometimes after being with him, I try to remember what it was like to be 4. I try to remember if I ever saw life in such magical ways. I grew up in the city without much exposure to nature until the age of 6 when we moved into a house with a big backyard and became such a permanent fixture exploring every inch of it that my mother had to practically drag me back indoors. I did, however, have a very vivid imagination. TV for kids was kind of limited back then so my adventures had to be self-made. However, I absolutely believed in fairies and talking animals. I also believed that teddy bears were magic, one piece of my childhood that I still hold on to today.
Sometimes we have to call a time out to life and let ourselves remember what it was like to live with abandon and imagination. We need to stop looking at life through the lens of drama, chaos and fear, and remember what it was like to sit and watch a star blinking, or listen for Santa creeping into the house on Christmas Eve, or play dress-up and imagine going to the ball with Cinderella. We have to bring back the magic, because when we do, possibilities we couldn’t conceive of before suddenly float into our consciousness like blowing bubbles in a breeze day. When we look at the world like a child, we see with innocence and honesty. What a great world we could build with that view!
This week our writing assignment on the Home Page is going to let us be kids again. Maybe when we’re done, our own perspectives will have changed just a little bit. As always, have fun with it, and keep writing! Peace and blessings.