A Child Within:

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Posted by TerryS ( on February 03, 2001 at 03:13:41:

> 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 eyes when he talked to
> our kids. Or maybe it was the warmth that could only radiate
> from the genuine Santa. But this kindly old man was Santa Claus
> at the resort all year round and, for our family at least, he was
> 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
> on Santa's lap for a picture!"
> "Do you really have adults come to 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... mystery.
> "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. Rather,
> child-like. Fun-loving and ready to embrace life and love.
> Children are not yet jaded by exhausting problems or cynical
> about people. They know there is plenty about this universe they
> do not completely understand, and the mystery is likely to fill
> them with more awe than doubt.
> Several years later, I had the honor of speaking at his funeral
> service. We remembered him as a man who always kept his
> child-like sense of enthusiasm about life. I'm sure he was one of
> the youngest old men to ever die.
> Writer Randall Jarrell said, "One of the most obvious facts about
> grown-ups to a child is that they have forgotten what it is like
> to be a child." He never forgot. I hope I don't, either.
> 2001 Steve Goodier

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