What is it like to be a Child?

What is it like to be a child?  

There are days when I struggle to remember my childhood. Those days seem so elusive to me. 

I grew up as the middle child of 7 and the oldest girl. As far as I know, I am the only one my father named. It was his desire to have a girl named Gretchen. After 3 boys, here I came and was given a name that for most of my young life I was embarrassed to tell anyone. I grew up in a small rural very Catholic town.  There were many girls named Mary, Barbra, Cathy or Ann.  But no other Gretchen. I think I was OK when we lived there, since we all grew up together, but once we moved it was different. The first time I came across another Gretchen I was in college and she was a German shepherd.  

In a way, I have to laugh. While I am not embarrassed by my name now, I still feel bit uncomfortable telling people who I am. As a child and an adult, you tend to want to fit in with the crowd. To feel that you belong or at least are accepted by the group. Your name can be seen as something common, beautiful or unique. But it is only a name after all. It is not who you are. 

What is it like to be a child? 

I know childhood in the year 2012 is far different than being a child in the 1950’s. Children today are bombarded by all kinds of technology, media, choices and pressures, I never faced growing up. Too often we expect, even demand a child to be someone other than who they are. I wonder are we raising mini-adults like they did in the Middle Ages instead of letting a child be a child? Does a child even now how to be a child anymore? Are we more like children as adults than children are as children? Sometimes, I wonder.

What is it like to be a child? 

A child is free to express themselves in any manner that strikes their fancy. Their imaginations are colorful and run wild. They look at the world with wide eyed wonder. Everything is new and fresh. Children explore their surroundings and observe the people in their space. The best I can tell, children do not judge. It just is. They laugh, sing and run just because they feel like it. The words that come out of their mouths sometimes make us laugh, but they tend to be words of wisdom. How wonderful is that! 

What is it like to be a child? 

Simple, free, joyful, curious, observant, wonderful, wise. 

Time to free the child in children and let them soar!

Live, Love, Laugh!

Gretchen 

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