The Kid Within

“Have we all forgotten who we are? When did we all grow up and lose our heart? We gave up our innocence and energy. Remember how we used to be when we were young and running free.” –Chris Rice, Kids Again.

While I was exploring in the woods the other day, my mind started to wander and ponder on the transition between childhood and adulthood. What is it that makes a kid a kid? Is it unconditional trust—the naivety of thinking that nobody will ever betray you? Is it climbing a tree for no other reason than to be high in the sky, closer to the clouds? Is it running, jumping, and skipping the summer days away with your best friend that you met an hour ago? What is it? I don’t know exactly what it is, but I know it’s in me—in all of us—somewhere.

That kid is the one who wants you to race through the woods, dodging trees, squirrels, deer, and spider webs. Wants you to race the wind.  He’s the kid who just wants to lie in the grass for hours, looking at the parade of clouds marching across the ocean above—an ever-changing canvas that God has used to paint some real masterpieces. And as night falls, you can watch the stars appear like magic in the velvety sky. Watch them dance.

Why can’t we all just let go of this “I’m an adult, so I’m not supposed to do that” attitude and do what comes natural? Do what makes us feel alive? You wanna walk around in the woods barefoot? Do it. Kick off those blue suede shoes and feel the dirt and grass tickle your toes. Toughen up those soft feet.  Get dirty. Go exploring and find a cave or two. Hang out with Mother Nature and don’t pay no mind to Father Time. Enjoy what God has created. You wanna splish splash in a river? Go for it. Even if you aren’t wearing “swimming clothes”. Take off your shirt and let that big ole star in the sky brown your winter skin. Let the water cool you off some.

Get lost in a story in the pages of a good book. You don’t have to keep up this adult façade by reading a New York Times Bestseller. God forbid if someone catches you reading a book with a Newberry Award plastered on the front cover. Who cares? Pick up a Jerry Spinelli or Gary Paulsen book, heck maybe even a Roald Dahl. You wanna ride a bike? Take that baby out for a spin—without a helmet, of course. Don’t do it just for exercise; that takes all the fun out of it. Ride somewhere you’ve never been. No planning, just ride. Oh, and grab some ice cream on the way. C’mon folks, it’s time to find that child within all of us. He’s been playing hide and seek for too long and he’s beginning to think that you gave up looking for him. He’s ready to be found. Ready to play some more.