Monday, May 05, 2008

The Toddler's Creed

I came across one of my favorite poems…well, I assume it’s a poem though it doesn’t rhyme. I delight in it because it is yet another "story of my life." It’s attributed to a Dr. Burton L. Wright, and I’m sure Dr. Wright won’t mind if I quote it here:

The Toddler's Creed

If I want it,

If I give it to you and change my mind later,

If I can take it away from you,

If it's mine it will never belong to anybody else,
No matter what.
If we are building something together,
All the pieces are mine!

If it looks just like mine,

If it breaks or needs putting away,

As I’ve often said, I really do think that on many levels I never made it past the “Terrible Twos” emotionally. I am totally and irrationally jealous of anyone who has some ability, skill, or trait that I do not have but want. And when I say that often my chest will ache when I will see someone who I think is beautiful, I am quite serious. It’s an actual, physical response.

We all have to grow up, and for the most part—though with great reluctance and resistance—I have, though as you have undoubtedly noticed, I have clung, and still cling, desperately to the past. “Growing up” has always terrified and revolted me because to me “growing up” also meant/means “giving up”…losing forever the wonders and openness that make a child’s life so enchanted and exciting.

There can be only one “first time” for anything, of course, and we run through them quickly as children. Unfortunately, repetition of experiences tends to have a sandpaper effect, wearing away the intensity of the emotions each of those first-time experiences evoked. The all-too-inevitable result, for most people, is to forget how wondrous so many things still are. To this day, I can pick up a pebble on the beach and become totally awed just staring at it, thinking of how it got to the moment in eternity when I picked it up…where it came from, and how very, very long ago, and the odds that I would choose it to pick up over the billions of other pebbles, and what will become of it after I return it to the beach. If I throw it far out into the water, how long will it take it to return to the beach, and what will become of it in the gigantic scheme of things?

For me, the Toddler’s Creed is my view of the entire world.

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