The Golden Age of Childhood

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Golden Age.”

Given a choice of one stage of my lifetime to last indefinitely, I would choose to be a child in the Golden Age of childhood— which I will define roughly as the period of elementary school, ages about five to eleven. These children are interested in almost everything, and are impressed with the enormity of the world around them, whether it is the majesty of the night sky or the or raindrops on a window pane.

Many, many years from age 10 a spider web or a pebble still can capture my attention. I still rescue silly moths that have fallen into the dog’s dish, floating with legs upward and gasping for their last wisp of air.     Chatting with cats is a given for a child’s agenda. Inspecting closely a pattern of Jack Frost on the winter windows…like little schematic blueprints for a plan of a new neighborhood.

To a golden-child-ager, everything is new and exciting, worthy of attention and consideration. There is no such thing as boredom…there is always fascination in one’s own fingerprint, or the way of a flower’s construction.

This quality of wonder and discovery endures in a child until someone–who is older and immune to the wonder of the world around them–interjects a snide or snarky “so what?” which effectively deflates the buoyancy of the child’s ego.

This age of childhood provides ample food for thought, and there is a constant river of new and interesting things to experience and learn. If I were to exist entirely in one stage of life, my choice would be to be a child.

In contrast to the open-minded and ever expanding intellectual repertoire of a child, other choices would be existing as an adolescent, or as an adult. Neither niche appeals to me.

The adolescent is neither child nor adult, always stuck in between, either too young or to old, unable to fully understand the implications of life.

Then there is the plight of the adult–which in my view would mean a perpetual “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” state of uncertainty… the curse of the struggle to always know what is right or wrong, and bear responsibility for consequences of all actions.

The learning curve is still present in the adult stage, but with added burden of having to live with and build upon history–good and bad, with “THE BUCK STOPS HERE” placard always nagging in the background.

19 Comments

    1. yes, if a bit idealistic. Actually though the essence of childhood lives on in us all. My childhood was certainly not “ideal” whatever that is, but I always loved bugs and rocks. 🙂

      1. Less is more, as the saying goes. A child will have much more fun and enjoyment playing with an empty box than with the expensive toy that came in the box. The toy often has limited play-value, while the box could go on indefinitely in a variety of play.

  1. It’s a very beautiful point of view highlighting qualities in children which I appreciate the most. Most of us let our sense of awe and wonder get lost. Saving insects and spiders is such a kind thing to do. Paying attention is the key to learning. Is that you in the picture?

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful take on prompt.

    Sincerely,
    Anand 🙂

    1. Thank you Anand. No, that is not me in the picture, that is my sister-in-law, who is 95. The girl is my oldest great-granddaughter. I like this picture because it shows the feelings of respect and interest in elders.

    1. Sometimes all it takes is to carry or lead a child around and point out a few things–like bugs, or leaves, or rocks–to instill love of learning in them. I’ve known people who don’t want to learn anything more than they have to…they miss so much!

  2. You’re right…that is truly a golden age. Lots of good stuff! For me, it would be the time I lived in Aspen, Colorado during the 70’s, best time of my life so far.

    1. thanks for the comment. I guess the 70’s would be my “best” time…a job I loved, general good times…. in my 30’s, when everything was working well and I was still gorgeous. (just kidding) It was in the 90’s that my traveling days and university evolved. Life is actually a series of “chapters.” 🙂

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