Childish or Childlike?

Seth Godin states, concerning the difference between being childish and childlike, “There is a huge difference between being childlike and being childish. When we embrace joy and look at the world with fresh eyes, we’re childlike. When we demand instant gratification and that everything will be ok, we’re only childish.”

I remember when our firstborn son, Garrett, as a little child, first stepped on the thick Saint Augustine grass at Epworth-by- the- Sea, on Saint Simons Island. He was tiny, just learning to walk. I remember he was barefooted, and when he first felt the grass beneath his little feet, his eyes lite up, and his face had this look of utter amazement about it. I remember he kept lifting his feet high as if marching, each time looking to see what was on them. He finally bent down and touched the grass, pulling at it, and then he plopped down on his little bottom and began to eat the grass.

As I watched him, I remember thinking, “You know, this is the first time he has ever experienced the feeling of grass beneath his feet.” I remember delighting in the joy of his new discovery and thinking how great it would be to experience life with the same sense of wonder and amazement.

It’s sad but often true that we are guilty of allowing the everyday stuff of life to rob us of wonderment. We become so focused on getting ahead that we grow cold and indifferent to the splendor and beauty of God that exist all around us. As a result, we become demanding and insistent on getting our way. Instead of maturing, we become more infantile in our behavior. We become childish rather than childlike.

What would you say to the idea of letting go of childishness and rediscovering the magic of childlikeness? I, for one, intend on saying yes! How about you?


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