Curved Horizons

  I can't speak for everyone, but I am willing to bet good money on the idea that most children see the world the same way: as a snow globe, or as one of those funny 'tiny planet' photographs, where a panorama wraps around itself and turns into a perfect little world with trees sticking out of its surface and and houses hanging upside down. 

  We think that everything looks giant to kids, but it is in fact the exact opposite.  They sincerely and wholeheartedly believe that the Earth is very small; that they could walk across it in a day if they so wish, and most importantly -- all that exists belongs to them and to them only.  The world is theirs, to touch, to look at, to take, and this is where children's constant felicity really comes from.  It's only later they learn -- or better, the adults teach them -- that the world is a complicated and a fucked up place. 

​  Grownups are such killjoys...  Children don't fear falling off the edge of the Earth until we tell them they could.  “This will hurt,” we say, and then suddenly it does hurt, for as parents we always act like our worry should be more important than our kids' desire to fly.  We want to protect them, but we end up clipping their wings in the process.

  I'll let you in on a secret.  If you keep your mouth shut and just watch, you will discover that the power of children's wonder is greater than the pain from a scraped knee.  Oh, sure -- it will sting a little, and yes -- they will be fleetingly scared.  Then, they will grin and their entire face will beam in triumph.  “Did you see that! Mom, Dad, did you just see how I jumped all the way down to Australia?!”

  I hate to admit it, but for the sake of any credit I ever hope to get as a good parent, I think our children are often safer when they are lost in the Outback Down Under than when we cradle them in our arms...

  ​And as for being a good mother, that -- for me at least -- is no different that being a good person. A good person is a free person, free from fear; free the way kids are free when they walk about their own tiny globes where everything is uncorrupted by knowledge and blessed with ignorance, open to interpretation, and within their reach.

Kids can do anything. 
And I envy them for it.


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