The writer Marilyn McEntyre has put out a book on, of all things, lists. McEntyre takes what seems to be a completely practical task, and turns it into a spiritual exercise. She gives the insight that list-making does more than help us do things; it also, and more importantly, helps us see things.

Like her list, “Why Children Enchant Us.” Here is some of what she shares:

  • They don’t know their lines
  • They remind us of life before irony
  • They invent logic (I may be guilty of this, too)
  • They can be surprised by the obvious
  • They find laughter in odd places (Hey, so do I! Just ask my family)
  • They think the commonplace is curious
  • They aren’t yet convinced that fun requires electricity (although, sadly, I think this now only applies to the youngest among us)
  • They’re not in it for the money
  • They’re washable
  • If they’re afraid, they’ll tell you
  • They think a question is a good way to find out (Hmm, imagine that)
  • They think it’s okay to sleep wherever you get sleepy

Such a list reminds us why we love children so much, and why they can teach even the oldest among us. But such a list, like any one that is about more than getting things done, invites us to add our thoughts. Here are mine on why I find children so good to have around:

  • They haven’t learned to manage their face
  • They aren’t hardened by life
  • They cheat so obviously (like 5-year-old Henry, who hid something behind his back & asked me to guess which hand, only to change hands as needed)
  • They can charmingly miss the obvious (again, like Henry, who pointed at me to guess which hand was holding the money behind his back; well, Henry, I think you just made my choice a lot easier)
  • They aren’t afraid to eat dessert before dinner (which can get them and their dads in trouble with mom)
  • They don’t stuff their emotions down deep inside (and, of course, whatever gets stuffed inside eventually comes out somewhere in some way, and sometimes in ways that aren’t pretty)
  • They will respond to a caring adult (although, if they’re like my great-niece Olivia, it will take some work to win her over; but it is definitely worth it)

So, what do you enjoy about children? What are they teaching you?

Even more important: What specific children are you in relationship with, putting yourself in a place where you can be enchanted by them?

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