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Through the Eyes of a Child
by Sheila Somerlock Ruth
Today, leaving my mother's house, I noticed a slug on the sidewalk and stopped to look at it. Now, this wouldn't be unusual if my son was with me. He is a budding scientist who stops to examine every small insect, spider, and other tiny creature that he sees. But since my young scientist wasn't with me, I'm not really sure why I stopped. Perhaps I stopped automatically because I've gotten used to stopping to look at these things with him. But then again, perhaps I am learning to see things through the eyes of a child.
I must have known how to see things as a child at one time. After all, I used to be a child. But somewhere along the way I became focused on getting from one place to another, and forgot to notice all the wonderful things in between. But then God blessed me with a second chance, in the person of a beautiful, precious son. Every day, my son shows me many things that I've never taken the time to look at before.
I've never really looked at a slug before. I've never noticed the two horns that frame a perfect slug face; never noticed the beautiful pattern on its skin, or the silvery trail it makes as it bravely tries to cross the sidewalk. My mother says that these trails look like, "writings in invisible ink that can only be seen in the moonlight." Before today, a slug was simply a yukky thing to avoid stepping on when going from one place to another. But today, I really looked at a slug instead of stepping over it.
I've never held a Cicada before. Never felt the stickiness of its little legs as it walks across my hand. Never noticed a face with big red eyes which my son calls "cute." Never noticed the beauty of its delicate, lacy wings.
I've never looked at ant larvae before. If I thought about ant larvae, which of course I never did, I would have thought only that they are disgusting. I never really thought about them as babies; never realized that ants protect their young with the same fierceness that we protect ours. But on a recent camping trip when we lifted up a rock and discovered an ant home, we watched the ants scurry around moving the larvae as quickly as possible away from the new threat above. After a few minutes watching, we gently replaced the rock so that the ant family could return to normal.
I might have noticed the pretty flower beside the sidewalk, but I never would have noticed the little green spider making its home within the flower. And while I have appreciated the beauty of butterflies, I never noticed the incredible diversity and wonder of them. I never watched a tiny frog eat a baby cricket before; never realized that it stalks its prey just like a cat.
All these things and more I have learned from my son. I've even learned to see God through the eyes of a child. One recent night, when we were saying our bedtime prayers, my son stopped and said, "Mommy, can you say anything you want to God, or do you just have to say thank yous and pleases?"
I thought for a moment, and then answered, "Well, I guess you can say anything you want to."
My son smiled in relief, looked up to the ceiling, and said, "I love you, God."
I'm going to make the most of this second chance. I'm going to try to learn to live in the moment, at least some of the time. And this time, I pray that I won't forget how to see the world through the eyes of a child.
Sheila Somerlock Ruth was a full-time computer professional before motherhood inspired her to take a more creative approach to life and work. Today, she is a home-based web development specialist and co-owner of MyCinnamonToast.comô, a site developed in tandem with Edna Katherine French -- her mom. Both generations of women work together on the website and their related publications on Genealogy, Parenting and Reading Tips. To subscribe, visit them at MyCinnamonToast.com
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