Archive for July 18th, 2011
I just got off the elevator with a mother and her little three-year-old boy.
He was, of course, looking at the only brightly lit things in the elevator, the ones indicating the floor we were each going to.
He had heard us indicate the buttons to push. We were on the lift together for only about a minute. So the conversation I made was to say to him, “You’re going to fifteen and I’m going to eleven.”
The boy doesn’t need to understand what it means, I just included him in the conversation his mother and I had had.
A young child does two things: 1) he gets very used to not understanding what is going on, but 2) He still manages to get a picture of the world from the tens of thousands of things he hears and does not understand.
I do exactly the same thing here.
I just burst into laughter remembering that ten years ago readers of Whitaker online gently corrected me when I took Texas Hold ‘Em for an actual commenter.
I talked learnedly about the Book of Genesis and got “the firmament” wrong.
The little boy will come, in time, to realize that the floors on the elevator mean he is going up to the fifteenth floor, from which every day he looks out on the world from an entirely different perspective from that when he was on the first floor.
It is true that we forget the really awful childhood pains, but we also forget this particular joy. We forget the joy of a developing human brain.
The kid will someday realize the connection between that elevator and the sight he sees on his porch a hundred and forty feet up. He will forget that realization in half a minute. But while he is having it, it is The Latest News, the World Coming Together.
It happens to each child thousands of times. It is a repeated joy everybody forgets, but for that moment it is like the candy bar he has waited all day for. Dessert is delicious and instantly forgotten. It is still a wonderful thing when you have the taste buds of a child.
I will never know when I enter my second childhood because I am still in my first.
Nothing I write has big words, because after my threescore and ten, I am STILL delighting in figuring out how basics connect together.
Mantra Thinking is childish. That is why it is so joyful.