Monday, 16 September 2013

The Clock to a Child

There is a museum we frequently walk by on our way to errands or church. My daughter cherishes the current display in the window, full of old clocks. She points out the small ones and the big ones. I always tell her they are antique and ask which one is her favorite. It doesn't matter how many times she sees them. She is always delighted when we pass that window.

Yesterday, I decided to take her in to the gift shop to see if there were others to show her. She was ecstatic at the selection of clocks that towered over her or had large faces. And then she was asked if she wanted to see the cuckoo clock. Oh, heavens yes! This girl loves a cuckoo clock. She had only seen them pictured in stories, displayed but not in use, or replicated as a small toy. Her eyes were huge. As the bird loyally finished cuckooing four times its admirer exclaimed, "Again, again!"

It is called "child-like wonder". But I hope it is something that we can keep not just for her early discovery years, but for her whole life. I hope that in ten years I can take her into an informative museum or show her an historical antique and she will appreciate the opportunity. I hope that instead of boredom she will, with wide eyes, hunger for more.

The biggest step in ensuring her persevering appreciation is to continue to join in, and enjoy, her awe. As I look at our world I know that the opportunity to do so is bigger than ever. Information is so available. People devote their whole lives to one topic. But the occasion of enjoying the beauty of life together is decreasing. Too many other priorities make everyone too busy. Then, when they are in each others company they are distracted. I see parents and children sitting together, only physically, as they stare at their little screens. I see tired families sitting in front of the television, winding down or avoiding stress.

Yes, there is a plethora of information that can be learned from a show. But it isn't experienced together. Not in the way life could be lived, bouncing the joy and revelation that is discovered off of each other and compounding its enchantment.

My daughter loves the railway museum. She enjoys trail walks. She likes to show me new things she notices in her books. Everyday her eyes are opened to new things. Everyday she opens my eyes.

I am sure most of these things would be enjoyed by every child. And I feel like I am judging to assume that some would have no desire. Ultimately, it is the twinkle in her eye that I wish will never go out. I hope my little girl continues to find life exhilarating and intriguing.

Like when she pulls on the dog's tongue to examine the slimy object. When she stares at the stars and repeats, "Look, look, look!" When she intently rummages through boxes at the garage sale (and usually chooses some old book because of the picture on the cover). When she gets herself in trouble with her experimentation by doing things like wrapping an iPod cover around her wrist without being unable to get it off.

Her childlike bewilderment and investigation is so infectious. I see things differently. I notice every plane in the sky (she points them out when they are barely visible). I'm made aware of all the people riding bikes (and the man she was attracted to at the coffee shop because he was wearing a bike helmet). I notice every bug and every dog and cat. And I am more appreciative of everything around me.

It is a blessing to be alive. To see and to feel. To experience.

Every clock is a wonder. I listen to one ticking away now. Keeping correct time as I relax on the couch in the quiet night as it gets later and later. Refreshing myself for all the unprecedented wonder of tomorrow.

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