A few weeks ago I went to a concert. As the concert began I noticed most people were busy taking pictures with their cell phones. I even took a few pictures too. I wanted to capture memories. Then something made me stop. I put my phone away and glanced around. All I could see were people looking through the lens of their cameras. I noticed how small the screen seemed compared to what was happening all around me. I realized I had been limiting my experience to the size of my small phone. I thought about the beauty I have missed because I didn’t open my eyes to the world around me. I missed important things in life because I was trying to get the “perfect picture.” I didn’t pick up my phone the rest of the evening. I lived in the moment and truly experienced my time with the music, the lights, and my friends.
That night, I went to bed thinking about the children we serve. I thought about the innocence and exuberance with which children experience life. Children truly live in the moment and crave the experience of the entire world. Children don’t live through the lens of a small camera. They live with a sense of wonder where everything is bright and magical. But we as adults sometimes taint this innocence with harsh words and frustration. When we do this we are forcing the child to look at life through a tiny lens. The memory they will have isn’t a “perfect picture.” When we use harsh words we take away a piece of their light that can never be rekindled.
As adults, it is our responsibility to keep the fire of wonder alive in each child. We need to tread lightly in the magical world. Instead of living with limited vision we need to look around and see the beauty of the world around us. Rachel Carson, a writer, scientist, and ecologist wrote, “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”
I want to be that one adult. I want to live in the moment and share the joy, excitement and mystery of the world in which we live. I want the perfect picture to be in my mind and my heart. I don’t want to limit my view to a small snapshot but I want my picture to be a huge collage of wonderful memories. Then I want to pass it along to the children in my life so they can create their own collage of life’s beauty and wonder.