Inner Wild Child

Earlier today I was painting with some younger kids. This one girl—Fiona—is really bright, and though she’s only six on the outside, underneath she understands things in a really deep way. I was painting my own thing while two younger boys painted a crazy picture beside me with lots of paint swirled together in an amazing abstract firework of colors. Fiona, who had been watching the boys, turned to me and said,

“For them, anything is possible!”

Since then, I have been thinking about that. I watch how many times someone will ask, ‘what do you want to do?’ and how many times another will reply, ‘I don’t know.” This never comes up for anyone under eight years old. To them the whole world is blank paper, and they’ve got the paints. They take an ordinary day, use the amazing swirl of possibilities and mix them into an abstract firework of excitement. They never say ‘I’m bored’ unless there’s no one around to play with them. Kids can be whatever they want to be: in a half an hour they can be an evil sorcerer, a black belt in karate, and an alien invader. It is so true that for a child, anything is possible.

Again, I wonder how the world would be  if everyone were like this—if there were no inner doubt inside each of us, if we weren’t afraid to stand out or jump high. But no matter how different adults and children seem, I do believe there is an inner wild child in each of us—that somewhere deep down there is that reckless daring, that need to shine to the high heavens, to be respected by all, and to be loved and cared for. What happens in those years when one turns from child to adult? Why is this lost behind them? Why do they forget to play and pretend?

Why can’t we all spend just one day as a child again? Why can’t we all spend a few hours doing something crazy just for the heck of it? Why can’t we all be a little childish again.

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