Big eyes. Big smile. Wonder. Seeing the world and its endless possibilities for the first time.
There is nothing purer than a child’s innocence. Kids “get it.” They “get” what this life was supposed to be like — beautiful and fun. Last night in the locker room after my swim, I listened as two junior high school girls giggled about cute boys in a row of lockers nearby. Their lives seemed so simple, so free of worry. “Don’t lose that, girls,” I whispered inside my head. “Don’t grow up.”
But grow up we all must. There’s no getting around it. And while this video attempts to criticize society for the conforming it forces us all to do, I can’t help but remember my time spent in elementary school classrooms. What is the line between squashing a child’s individuality and giving them the tools they need to succeed in life? What can we as adults and teachers do to better our society for our kids — and ourselves, too?
I won’t give it away, but I love the dad’s actions at the end. ;)
Speaking of poetry . . . I may not be able to write poems anymore, but this lady sure can. She made me cry.
I looked in the mirror and what did I see, but a little old lady peering back at me, with bags and sags and wrinkles and wispy white hair, and I asked my reflection, “How did you get there?
You once were straight and vigorous, and now you’re stooped and weak when I tried so hard to keep you from becoming an antique.”
My reflection’s eyes twinkled, and she solemnly replied, “You’re looking at the gift wrap and not the jewel inside, a living gem and precious of un-imagined worth, unique and true, the real you, the only you on earth.
The years that spoil your gift wrap with other things more cruel should purify and strengthen and polish up that jewel.
So focus your attention on the inside, not the out— on being kinder, wiser, more content, and more devout.
Then, when your gift wrap is stripped away, your jewel will be set free, to radiate God’s glory, throughout eternity.”
The “little old lady” reciting this poem is Wanda Goines. She was 92 when this video was recorded in 2015. According to ABC News, she wrote the poem years ago, but it only became known when her caregiver posted this video on YouTube. Today it stands at almost 3.5 million views . . . Not bad for a little old lady!
I’m 33 and can already relate to this poem. I say “already” because, at 33, 33 doesn’t seem so old. When I was 23, 33 was “pretty old”; at 13, accordingly, it meant “almost dead” . . . This perspective will change yet again when I am 43, and 53, and 63. When I am 73, 33 will probably mean “baby,” and that, to be honest, scares me. These last 33 years have been far from easy; if 33 equals “baby,” I’m terrified of what’s to come.
But that’s kind of Wanda’s point, isn’t it?
Life ishard — for everyone — and over the years it does things to our appearance that we don’t always like. At 33 I have more wrinkles than I did at 23. I have more gray hairs. (Okay, I haven’t actually seen any yet, but that’s because I’m blonde . . .) I get sore more easily. I take longer to heal when sick or wounded. If had a rock-climbing accident today like I did at 18, I probably wouldn’t survive.
No one is immune. Everyone will die.
And that’s why Wanda is right on. In this world of superficiality, where youth is worshiped and beauty idolized, even the rich and famous get old, and no amount of plastic surgery or fancy clothing can change this. The only thing we have control over is how we live. How much we love, care, laugh, strive — these are the things that matter. These are the things we’ll be remembered for.
I am reminded of Princess Diana. She was a beautiful woman, certainly, but I would argue that she’s remembered as much for her kindheartedness and love as she is for her beautiful face. By contrast, certain celebrities considered beautiful today somehow become less beautiful in light of their selfish or foolish actions. We are what we eat, and also, how we act. Love is greater than beauty. Love is beauty.
Note: This is a reminder to myself as much as it is for the reader. Lord knows I worry about my appearance far too much!
I’m listening to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on audiotape while helping a friend clean her house. It’s the part toward the end where Huck is deciding what to do about Jim, Miss Watson’s runaway slave. Huck and Jim have been rafting down the Mississippi for weeks now — Huck trying to escape his drunken Pa; Jim trying to find freedom — only they keep running into trouble. This time, a couple of vagrants have kidnapped Jim and sold him to Mr. Phelps, a local farmer, and now, Huck is confused: Should he do what’s “right” (and what he “shoulda done all along”) and tell Miss Watson where Jim is and thus betray his friend? Or, should he listen to his heart . . . ? Continue reading →