When Do We Lose That Childish Wonder?

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I live in a rural area where, until very recently, very few people of colour lived. This was especially the case when I was growing up in the sixties. In my earliest years, I never once laid eyes on a person who was not the same ethnicity as me. My mother tells me a story of taking me to the local swimming pool when I would have been aged 3 or 4. There was a black mother with her child and of course, with my then-blond, straight hair and fair, freckled skin, I was fascinated. After staring at the child – who would have been about the same age as me – in open-mouthed wonder for a long time, I finally asked, in a loud, childish voice, “Mom, why is that boy chocolate?”

Chocolate is one of my favourite things in the whole world – always has been – so although I do not remember this occasion at all, I have no doubt that my question was a very positive one, filled with wonder, and admiration and perhaps a touch of envy.

My mother – not sure how to handle the situation – was mortified, and quickly and quietly shooed me away.

I’m not sure how it is that we do not maintain that lovely innocence: when the way a person looks is just another detail to be admired, simply for what it is. When skin colour doesn’t matter. When age and wrinkles don’t matter. When height and weight don’t matter.

When judgement isn’t even a concept in our lovely young minds.

In his final years, my Dad drew stares wherever he went: his throat cancer had taken his voice and the device he used to replace the vibration of his missing vocal chords made his voice sound loud (he could no longer whisper; could not turn down the volume) and computer-generated. It was a voice that drew attention: in public, adults would surreptitiously – almost with distrust – give him side-long glances when they thought he wasn’t looking, and quickly glance away if they caught his eye. Not so with the children: they would march up to him in open-mouthed amazement, staring unashamedly as he spoke to the person beside him until they could catch his eye. “Why do you talk funny?” they would then demand loudly, as their mortified parents rushed forward to grab them away.

Dad always managed to grin and give them an answer before the parents could get there though, which of course, put everyone at ease. He loved the candour of the children’s questions and he never minded answering (and the older ones got a life lesson about the dangers of smoking, to boot).

A friend of mine – carrying a bit of extra weight, used to laugh as she told me how one of her nephews always sought out her lap at family gatherings: “I love to sit in your lap, Auntie P_, he would say, snuggling in for a long, delicious cuddle. “You have such nice, lumpy stuffing.”

How do adults lose that ability to see everything – and everyone – as inherently, uniquely beautiful? When do we start to compare? To judge? To define what is beautiful? And what is not?

When – and why – do we lose that childish wonder?

Patti Moore Wilson © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com

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Author: Patti Moore Wilson, wednesdayschild2

I write what I feel. And I rarely know exactly what I feel until I write. I have lived long enough to have known many joys and many sorrows. I have made many mistakes; I have forgiven myself for a few… I have learned that there are lessons in every step of this journey, if we only take the time to pay attention… I hope you will feel free to pick and choose the stories that resonate for you…

18 thoughts on “When Do We Lose That Childish Wonder?”

  1. As we raise our kids, we use the word “beautiful” a lot. “Look at that beautiful sky” or “What a beautiful painting!”… So, our children understand beauty on a superficial level; however, the beauty of the human spirit comes from within the observer. I’m not sure that you can teach that. Like enlightenment, it must be attained through living…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of my favourite words is ‘lovely’. It encompasses so much more than superficial beauty. So many people and things and places can be lovely even if they’re not considered to be mainstream beautiful. But yes, you are right: the longer we live, the more we are granted the gift of understanding the true meaning of ‘beautiful’. Lovely comment, Charlie…thank you…💕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Whenever we’re chatting about this kinda thing, my mum always tells this story about me. I was also about 3 or 4 and mum and I were standing in a queue at the bank. There was an Indian woman in front of us, resplendent in her sari etc. Apparently I said, in my loudest voice, “look at the pretty lady”. Mum says that when she heard the LOOK…she had that momentary feeling of dread that quickly turned to relief – and the pretty lady beamed, apparently.
    Once though, as a teenager, I used to help out with a local group of Anchor Boys, the 5-6 year old Boy’s Brigade troop. In the minibus one evening a particularly obnoxious little 5 year old looked up at me and said: “Your perfume smells disgusting”. I never heard a positive thing come out of that kid’s mouth, which did sadden me at the time, but didn’t make him particularly likeable. Sadly, I suspect he may have been one of those poor kids that bypassed the wonder years.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks    for accepting and following my blog.

    I’m available to read your post at my convenient time.

    You have such an interesting topic I will love to read in
    your blog.

    I still remain  the simple blogger…..

    #PATRICKSTORIES
    Peace ✌and Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my touch by this post. this blew me away. Thank you for taking the time to share these write up through these words.

    These words are painted in truth, experience and perspective. I especially love how you started it and how you ended the write up. Beautifully written and as I read through again on each line I was amazed . Each word you used are true and reflective of my personal encounter with people children.

    For me personally am a teacher especially in children section.

    These are the Seven things I want every child to hear:

    1. I love you,
    2. I’m proud of you
    3. I’m sorry,
    4. I forgive you
    5. I’m listening.
    6. This is your responsibility. 7. You have what it takes to succeed.

    This produced a smile on my tired face after a long day. You’re appreciated.

    You are welcome Mrs/Miss Patti Moore Wilson.

    #PATRICKSTORIES
    Peace ✌and Love ❤

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you! I appreciate your thoughtful response.

        Such an awesome way of replying someone. Thanks. Again
        As always your posts are incredible and I enjoying reading every word down till the last line. I must say that you are probably one of the excellent bloggers on WordPress that write inspired
        Writing/post

        Also, I just posted:

        A VIEW OF FEMINISM: PLUMCOT

        Would love to know your views. Love to see your contributions on it. I’m always excited for your comment. 🙂

        You are welcome

        #PATRICKSTORIES
        Peace ✌and Love ❤

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Oh, for a fellow writer to leave such a comment… thank you so much… 🙏🙏🙏 I did indeed read – and ‘like’ – your post earlier today 😊. I found it to be very, very thought-provoking and presented with care, deep thoughtfulness and with great respect. Your post interested me greatly, as I recently – perhaps a month ago – made a conscious decision NOT to call myself a ‘feminist’ but rather, an ‘egalitarian’. I believe we must leave room for BOTH sexes to live in a climate of mutual respect and equality. I will leave this comment on your site as well… again, thanks for your words of encouragement… they are deeply appreciated…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank for the reply also. Thanks for taking your time to reply me.

        I just skimmed through your comment and the word you used are wow.

        I appreciate that very much.

        You are welcome

        Thanks for that

        I appreciate that very much.

        You are welcome

        #PATRICKSTORIES
        Peace ✌and Love ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Why do we, indeed, Patti…This writeup is particularly relevant in today’s world and I can tell that you have given this a lot of thought. Thank you for this gentle yet powerful reminder that we can do better.

    Liked by 2 people

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