“When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including a fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”C.S. Lewis, Letters to Children, 5.
If our view of growing up entails stamping out childishness; if it means burying our toys; learning to work and ceasing to play; if it means learning to reason and ceasing to imagine; if it means being serious and sober and unlearning loud laughter and silly games; if it means reading only serious books, and “staying informed,” and putting away fairy tales of imaginative lands…
–this vision is bleak, and far too small.
Obviously, we know fools who “never grew up.” They refuse to work, face their problems, and contribute to society.
Fear of becoming this type of person may push us into a crusty version of an adult who may be “successful” but who has forgotten how to play. And is left stunted from a wiser flourishing.
Go back and read your favorite childhood stories. Relearn how to play. Explore your favorite childhood memories. Write them down.
There’s a reason Christ commends the faith of children to his disciples. There’s a reason he is child-friendly, and rebukes his disciples when they try to block the kids from accessing him.
We need children to teach us how to live.