Yesterday was sublime! I got to spend the day with my daughter and two of her best friends. I was their chaperone as their class took a trip to the local zoo. And while I may have been the chaperone, they were the ones that gave me the education.
Watching children, up close, simply enjoy life and being with one another made me wonder if maybe we should start looking after them less and let them look after us more. We have so much to learn from them! I was taking mental notes the entire time, and it was overwhelming! The sheer joy in just being was beautiful! What I saw yesterday, I don’t see in school!
What is more important than friendship, caring, happiness, and love of life?
This trip involved no bells and whistles. Nothing fancy and no tour guide. To be quite honest, we were able to see all of the animals in about 40 minutes. The rest of the time was spent simply walking around and playing at the playground. Yet these girls kept commenting that this was one of the “best days of their life.”
I think it was because..
They had time because they were not being timed. They had space because there were no boundaries. They had freedom because they had choice. But more than anything, they had each other.
When and why does this stop mattering? We must find out. We can’t allow them to look back at old photos and wonder why they were so happy then. This must be something that they never forget. This must be something that they teach us.
When was the last time you saw three photos of sober adults this unabashedly happy?
Arm in arm. Happy. Carefree. Beautiful. Now it is our turn to chaperone. Now it is our turn to watch after them, guide them, see that this Unceasing Joy (Brad Gustafson) stays with them.
Is this photo a possibility ten years from now? Or will they not even sit together in the cafeteria because they are each a different shade of tan?
Is this photo a possibility ten years from now? Or will life and school have sucked so much fun out of them that they no longer take these long and confident strides?
Is this photo a possibility ten years from now? Or will they be so aware of self that they no longer notice each other?
Now is the time to let them chaperone us. Guide us. Teach us how to enjoy life.
There they go.