I have outlived my father, most of my brothers and have already passed the ‘average’ life expectancy for one of my gender.  I am in reasonably good health among my peers and can still claim to be independent but with some reservations.  I am able to participate in most activities expected of my age group and can still claim, to myself at least, that I am a contributing member of society.  But by comparison to those Summer Campers I see daily at the Wellness Center, I am ancient, over-the-hill, a doddering old man who should be at the Council on Aging playing Bingo.
I accept that we all have a one-time go with life.  Not one of us is given a second chance down here to relive the joys we knew when we were young and at that time believing in one’s own immortality.  It’s too bad that when we pass through that part of our life, we are not capable of really appreciating this unrepeatable God-given gift. But as the admonition goes, “Use it or lose it.”
As I am getting in my daily mile walk at the Wellness Center I see these children playing in the gym area and envy their physical stamina, their innocence, their laughter, their world of opportunity waiting for them to claim.  I see their thirst to learn new games, to express themselves artistically, to make new friends and to learn how to become a contributing member of a group. I see them  learning  respect, a sense of fair play, see them  learning  the joy of winning and also the lesson that there are losers in life.
I occasionally see them being brought in for the day’s activities  by a caring parent and for the very young by a reluctant parent who is also learning an important lesson which  is that the child needs to learn the lesson that nature teaches: eventually you’re on your own, a painful but inevitable lesson of life.
I recall this irreverent saying about the young: Youth is such a wonderful period in life.  It’s too bad it is wasted on children.  I remember reading once the suggestion that Whoever planned life’s journey got it all wrong.  Instead of being young then growing old, the opposite should exist.  We should be born old, get over it and enjoy the last years of our life as children. Think of the joys to which we could excitedly look forward.
Of course being young is not always a bowl of cherries.  Just listen to any child long enough and you will surely learn that he/she, like adults, has concerns, fears, anxieties, longings, disappointment, unfilled dreams, feelings of rejection and unanswered questions.
But despite this, children have something that which gives them a head start: youthful idealism.
Youth means great eyesight, perfect taste, fidelity of hearing, an enviable appetite, a sense of wonder and, we would hope, being the object of parental guidance and love.
“Youth come but once in a lifetime.”  -Longfellow
Bill Lee
PO Box 128
Hamer, SC 29547

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