Saturday 20 October 2012

Joy, Paint Pots and the Sizzler

I spent much of yesterday watching children have a fantastic time. In the morning, Margaret River Church had their first session of 'Ready, Set, Go', a program to help parents and kids get ready for starting kindy next year. There was singing, wonder as we looked at flowers, painting, playing in the sand, gluing, dressing up and stories. Some children were a little overwhelmed, and others couldn't get enough of all the activities. 

In the evening, our family went to the annual Margaret River Agricultural Show. Arrangements for this big night started a week ago. As parents, we had a schedule. At 5.30pm we were meeting this friend at the Tumbler, at 6.30pm we would meet and have dinner, at 7.30pm another friend would be met at the Tumbler and at 8.30pm we would watch the fireworks. The excitement was oozing!!

The look on my daughter's face as she tried to take in the different show bags and work out which was the right one for her was priceless. Wonder, confusion and excitement all wrapped up in one little expression. Watching the anticipation as they waited in line to go on the rides and then the smiles and the hair flying as they whizzed past us on the Sizzler.We joined the circle of parents with their cameras, waving as they flew around.

Adulthood has a way of bringing restraint into our lives. Everything is more measured and contained. I guess there is a need for that in many ways, especially when it comes to spending money at the Show. I wonder how much more joy we would have in life if, just occasionally, we let ourselves go. What would happen if we allowed ourselves to splash paint on a canvas, not worrying about the cost or the mess we were making? When was the last time we felt our heart pounding in anticipation of going on a 'freaky' ride at the Show? When did we last squeal in delight? When did we last let our hair down and let it fly in the wind? Do you remember the last time you ate fairy floss?

I often here people talk about childhood like they would love to go back to those carefree days. I would like to ask the question, "Why can't we reclaim childlike joy for ourselves?" I guess it's a choice we make. Do we risk being vulnerable and experience a sense of wonder and laughter or do we stay safe, contained and in control?

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