A Child Within Us

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
March 15, 2000

It was an annual winter tradition. Every year we packed the children into our family car and spent the day at “The North Pole at Pike’s Peak,” a year-round Christmas resort not far away. And each year they took turns on Santa’s lap while we snapped pictures.

This wasn’t any ordinary Santa, either. Maybe it was the real beard. Or maybe it was the twinkle in his eye when he talked to the kids. He came as close to the genuine Santa as anyone I can imagine. The kindly old man worked as Santa Claus at the resort all year round and, for our family at least, he was just about the real thing.

One year, after we finished with pictures, I said to him, “You must really love children.”

“Yes, I do,” he said. “And adults, too. Many adults want to sit with Santa for a picture!”

“Do you really have adults visit Santa?” I asked in amazement.

“Oh, yes,” he replied. “As a matter of fact, one day 14 of the first 20 people who came to visit Santa were adults. All of us have a child inside of us. It’s a terrible thing when you lose that.”

I think I know what he meant. Children are enthusiastic. They’ve not forgotten how to have fun. And they still feel awe and wonder and excitement.

“It’s a terrible thing when you lose that,” he said. I don’t think he meant that we are to be childish and immature – just childlike. There is a difference.

To be childlike is to be fun-loving and ready to get lost in the present. To be childlike is to be more innocent and trusting. Quicker to embrace life and love. To be childlike is to not yet be jaded by the world or too cynical about people. Those who are childlike laugh easily and often. They know there is plenty about this universe they may not understand, and that is okay. In fact, mystery is good. It fills them with awe.

My children eventually grew up and quit visiting Santa. A few years later I learned that he passed away. As it turns out, even an almost-real Santa doesn’t live forever. I had the honor of speaking at his funeral service and remembered him that day as a man who always kept his childlike sense of enthusiasm, love and joy. He was one of the youngest people I knew.

I only hope I’m that young when I’m that old.

By - Steve Goodier
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19 comments
  1. jsheats said:

    It’s so true my bday is coming up I will be only 26 years young but the time is flying

  2. I think I am – probably my second (or is it third?) childhood…

  3. I truly can say that when your blessed with little one’s stay in tune with the child inside is so important, my baby is only 9 I had him late in life, he was our unknown miracle I was 141/2 weeks before I was aware of this precious gift of God growing me. My hubby and I are not old but better with this active, vibrant, ask a whole lot of questions I wonder who told him to ask, another time another story. Keeping the child alive has been what has allowed us to reach my baby where he is at all times, and it will keep the child in me

  4. @”To be childlike is to be fun-loving and ready to get lost in the present. To be childlike is to be more innocent and trusting. Quicker to embrace life and love. To be childlike is to not yet be jaded by the world or too cynical about people. Those who are childlike laugh easily and often. They know there is plenty about this universe they may not understand, and that is okay. In fact, mystery is good. It fills them with awe…”

    >This is so, me! I didn’t realize it , fully, until I read these words. I’m knocking on 50s door this upcoming July 4th and I’ve never been so excited about a birthday. Total flip-flop from having cried the eve of and entire following day when I left my 20s..I didn’t want to leave my 20s..but now? Mayhaps because of my evolvement I’m in awe of..everything. All seems brand new and fresh..seeing it all with open eyes. I’m in the very midst of a spiritual awakening, enlightment..this period has lasted for almost 2 years and I’m still..there. Nothing short of amazing. The even more awesome news? Folks are shocked that I’m pushing 50..Often, and I mean often, I’m told I look like I’m in my 30s..It doesn’t get much better than that. Stay UPlifted & blessed ya’ll and remember to count your blessings today and every day 🙂

    • Yo really put a smile on my face :). I hope I can deal with my upcoming birthday as graciously as you have dealt with yours! Happy (upcoming) Birthday!!

      • And Happy early Birthday to you also…Guess what the alternative to having birthdays is? I love life and trying to appreciate every, single moment.Life is pretty dang awesome from this angle. Flying on a natural high is the only way to fly..

  5. naboo61 said:

    Reblogged this on anurbanboylivingasuburbandeath and commented:
    The next time someone tells me that I.m acting like a child, I will reply, “Thank you!”.

  6. One of our greatest assets is being young at heart. So often, we allow people to step on that precious treasure. Thus making us feel old and silly when we look for the innocence in things and others. Your story is so touching because it reminds me of another powerful story. In Luke 18:15-17 it says. People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

    You are so right, children are less jaded by the world and thereby are more apt to see the good around them. A wonderful lesson for all adults that have let the world rob them of their childlike innocence. Outstanding post!

  7. Great post! I never want to loose my childlike sense! Thanks for reminding me!

  8. I love that last line. I recently celebrated my 24th birthday – for the third time!

  9. Enthusiastic, fun-loving, awed by wonder, excitable, curious. Delightful traits at any age. Thank you for the reminder, Kenny, that maturity doesn’t have to be staid and stodgy!

  10. Our local mall has special nights for pets to visit Santa. My childlike human mommy brought me last year, and there she met many childlike human pet owners. I could tell every one of those humans was just itching to sit on Santa’s lap! I think pets help to keep humans young at heart.

  11. Thanks so much for sharing this. We can never have enough reminders to look at life with the awe that it truly deserves. Recently, my wife and I went camping. We got up early just to see deer. We did and were very excited about it. It’s not like we’ve never seen deer before, it’s just that they’re beautiful animals and we never get tired of them. I was lucky enough to marry a kid at heart like me. I hope we never lose that.

    • Thanks for stopping by and “Getting Hooked!” The stories are from a lot of different sources, internet mostly with some from friends and other places. The Good Lord keeps putting them in front of me and I keep posting!!! It is like a never ending river…. Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

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