My 3-year-old daughter has had a plaque with these words in her room since she was born. And though I am sure Lao Tzu had a greater context for this quote, expecting a new child any day, I hold a different significance to it.
As I see how far my little girl has come, and wonder where she is headed, the thought of witnessing another child’s journey makes me realize how grateful I am for life. It is simply amazing, as an adult, to see the challenges these little feet tread through before they can comprehend the greater nature of our world. What’s more amazing and equally disheartening is the washing away of innocence with each step and experience they endure. Yet hopeful, they awaken every day for the wonder that is life.
When do we lose this sense of exploration? At what point, do we become so cynical to discovery that we lose our yearning to dream? At what point, do we throw away fantasies to be an astronaut, a veterinarian, or a fireman when we grow up, and settle for being something that we force ourselves to like?
The answers to those questions vary from person to person, from place to place. However, the common denominator still equates to us losing a piece of ourselves that we sometimes never find again. That piece is the spark that sends us on that destined journey.
But why wait till we are in a place of discomfort in our lives that we are made to choose to live in misery or go searching for something new.
Watching my little girl grow up has awakened a new sense of wonder within me. It has tailored my language toward her by removing negative words and phrases such as “can’t,” or “don’t do that.” It has made me aware of my actions and the way we play together, read together, learn together. I try to let her experience as much as there is available. Even if it means letting her hammer in a nail… and me getting a sore thumb from the experience. Heck as far as I am concerned she is one swing closer to being a carpenter.
If able to begin this journey now, and continue all through life, how grand would the story be? Though every good story needs conflict, why should one of those conflicts be the choice to return to the adventure of life? How many conflicts and successes are missed while in that purgatory?
So as I see into this world, a new life, with new feet. I am eager to see the first steps that lead that little one on one hell of a journey.
By: David Joseph Leingang