Category Archives: Wide-Eyed Wonder

Preach It, Nate!

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Kids (and adults) don’t just need the truth in their heads — they need it in their bones. They need to know what courage looks like and tastes like and smells like before they ever have to show it themselves. They need to do justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly — heroes and villains can show them why. They need to loathe the darkness and love the Light.

N. D. Wilson, Stories are Soul Food: Don’t Let Your Children Hunger

It’s almost not an overstatement to say that Narnia saved my soul. In the midst of a dark childhood, under the influence of a church that had lost its moorings, God sent me these seven wonderful books that I read over and over and over again to help me understand and love Him in a way nothing else did. They kept me from starving. Thank you, Jack. And thank you, Nate, for carrying on the baton in your own way.

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A Perfect July 4th Weekend

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The Rat sculled smartly across and made fast. Then he held up his forepaw as the Mole stepped gingerly down. “Lean on that!” he said. “Now then, step lively!” and the Mole to his surprise and rapture found himself actually seated in the stern of a real boat.

“This has been a wonderful day!” said he, as the Rat shoved off and took the sculls again. “Do you know, I’ve never been in a boat before in all my life.”

“What?” cried Rat, open-mouthed: “Never been in a — you never — well I — what have you been doing then?”

“Is it so nice as all that?” asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leant back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.

“Nice? It’s the only thing,” said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolute nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,” he went on dreamily, “messing — about — in — boats; messing —-”

“Look ahead, Rat!” cried the Mole suddenly.

It was too late. The boat struck the bank full tilt. The dreamer, the joyous oarsman, lay on his back in the bottom of the boat, his heels in the air.

“–about in boats, or with boats,” the Rat went on composedly, picking himself up with a laugh. “In or our of ’em, it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it, there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not. Look here! If you’ve really nothing else on hand this morning, suppose we drop down the river together and have a long day of it?”

The Mole waggled his toes from sheer happiness, spread his chest with a sigh full of contentment, and leaned back blissfully into the soft cushions. “What a day I am having!” he said. “Let us start at once!”

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

[Thank you, Trovatos and Tuckers, for three glorious boat rides in two days! “Sheer happiness,” “contentment,” and “bliss” about sums it up for me.]

Of Such Is the Kingdom of Heaven

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The two facts which attract almost every normal person to children are, first, that they are very serious, and, secondly, that they are in consequence very happy. They are jolly with the completeness which is possible only in the absence of humour. The most unfathomable schools and sages have never attained to the gravity which dwells in the eyes of a baby of three months old. It is the gravity of astonishment at the universe, and astonishment at the universe is not mysticism, but a transcendent common-sense. The fascination of children lies in this: that with each of them all things are remade, and the universe is put again upon its trial. As we walk the streets and see below us those delightful bulbous heads, three times too big for the body, which mark these human mushrooms, we ought always primarily to remember that within every one of these heads there is a new universe, as new as it was on the seventh day of creation. In each of those orbs there is a new system of stars, new grass, new cities, a new sea.

G. K. Chesterton, The Defendant, Ch. 14: A Defence of Baby Worship.