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31 Days of Free Writes #Wardrobe ( Lesson 4: Childlikeness)

Wardrobe instantly makes my mind go one place.  One and only place.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe   by C.S. Lewis.  If you grew up in Christian circles there is a good chance you have read the books, had them read to you, or at least know about them.
Going to a Christian school this book was read to all of us.  As seniors in high school we also had to read Lewis' Mere Christianity and because it was 2003 and no other C.S. Lewis books were really entertaining movies yet, we had to watch the BBC version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Those versions now are quite comical.  If you have seen the newer versions you can't even compare them.  I remember laughing over the special effects of the BBC version in high school.  We did a rap spoof on the Chronicles, pretending to be fawns, Lucy, and the White Witch and mockingly called it Narnicles. (The fun had by seniors at your local Christian School, Wild times reenacting large toothed Lucy under every lamp post we saw!)
Recently I was reminded of this because my middle girl picked up a copy of the BBC versions of Lewis' work from the local library.  When I saw her selection I smiled.  I knew I was about to go down memory lane.  My girls were amused.  They enjoyed watching the old version filled with subpar acting in comparison to the later exciting movies they had already seen.
As my kids cuddled around me and we watched a British Lucy feeling her way past the coats of the old wardrobe at her Uncle's house I couldn't help but smile as she sees for the first time the snow covered forest in front of her.  She marvels that a hidden world stretches out endlessly before her.  It's a land she hasn't known yet has been here all along.  Her eyes open to Narnia. Even if the quality of the film was lacking the stories which I have both read and listened to and watched still came alive to me.  One quality about Lewis' books are their sense of wonder and excitement, magic. Lewis appeals to children and to the child within us by highlighting children as those able to access the hidden world of Narnia, or perhaps see the deeper spiritual truth.  They will believe it and thus it is revealed to them.
We know that it is largely allegory and filled with symbolism.
The reader or viewer sees clear illustrations of evil, good, and mostly the triumphant, yet merciful and sacrificial  Aslan depicting Christ.
One appeal to these books is that they echo the themes of the Bible in a non threatening way.  We don't feel threatened when we see Edmund eat the turkish delight and then grow greedy for more.  We know it's just a fairy tale on the surface, yet it is speaking the news of the Gospel to us.  We know its our  own story of sin and fallenness.  We know that we are like him as we have hungered selfishly to know what we do not know, or have what we have never known. And this has cost ourselves and others extensive hurt. A hurt we hadn't intended originally and had no knowledge of the depths of. We know the merciful eyes of Aslan are but shadows of the deep mercy found in our Savior's eyes as He becomes our sin and pays all of our debt laying Himself on a splintered filled cross like Aslan's laying down on the Stone table.  We hear the themes of far reaching forgiveness and the silencing of condemnation for forgiven sins when Aslan says to those around Edmund  not  to speak anymore of his sin. "Here is your brother," he said, "and – there is no need to talk to him about what is past." Those words pierced me as I sat holding the hand of my four year old.  I think my eyes blurred tears at the grace there. At the Jesus there.  

We see the deeper themes through a children's fairy tale.
This summer a dear friend of mine in her sixties told me she was taking the series to the beach with her to read.  I smiled at that.  They are timeless tells, skillfully written in a way that is appealing to both adults and children. I can get more out of these stories now than I did as a child.  I make the connections.
They are as C.S. Lewis describes good literature should be, " A childrens' story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest."
I know I agree with this.  I enjoy reading children's stories.  Meaningful children's stories.  I know I enjoy reading them to my kids as much or more than my kids enjoy it.  It's a win win for me.
One wonderful thing about having kids or putting yourself in the daily path of children is that they invite you into their world and keep you close to their perspective.  They keep you connected to a child's point of reference.  If you enter in. If you decide to abandon your agenda and embrace theirs for the moment.  Sometimes it feels awkward and odd.  It can be hard to play like a child. Maybe it's like a garment we used to wear with ease, but when we try to wear it again we can't seem to quite make it fit. Our self has to downsize in order to wear it once more.
I laughed at my daughter who told me this summer, "I never want to grow up.  Grown ups don't want to play anymore." (Ouch! I take that as my nudge to do some pretending, laughing, and less adultish things - or at least assist with such activities).  I think God gives us children for so many reasons and one is to invite us back into simple joy.  Joy where we get a little hand to hold and go back in time again.  Be kids with our kids if but for a few moments. The invitation to be small in self again.

I know I'm not too old by any means to need the wisdom of my kids. My daughters have set me straight several times.   They have led me in love, laughter, and often what is really most important.   I can't tell you how surprised I am sometimes at the words I hear them say. That my spirit gets gently put in its proper place by the words of my own kids. That the Holy Spirit can speak to me through their observations.
So like my friend who isn't ashamed to be sixty and reading all of the Chronicles of Narnia in the hot sun for her vacation, I'm not afraid of doing child like things either.  Isn't it the childlike whose faith enters into the Kingdom of God?
C.S. Lewis captures the importance of childlikeness in this statement, "When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness, and the desire to be very grown up."
I would substitute childishness for child likeness.  We all need to be more childlike. In innocence, in trust, in genuineness, in wonder, in enthusiasm, and in love.
So that's my lesson four for the thirty-one days...Embrace child-likeness.  It's quite possibly one of the most grown up things you can do!

What children's books have taught you something very adult?
What have children taught you?

My third girl acting out a roaring lion in music class  (She does this at home when she doesn't get what she wants - its well practiced)

Some people really know how to tap into child likeness.  Kids respond to the unbridled, unashamed willingness of adults to connect with them on their level.  This music teacher is superb!

www.holleygerth.com

Comments

  1. We learn our most life-giving lessons from the little ones in our lives, don't we, friend.

    We lay our to-do lists and tasks and errands aside and embrace our kiddos and soak in the beauty of what they bring to our lives ...

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  2. Hi Somer,
    I love this walk down memory lane! Isn't it funny how the next generation living through favorites inspires the child in us? My niece just started reading the Nancy Drews I've had since I was a girl. Even though I've told her they're hers, she called me the other night to see if she could come over and choose a few to read since we finished the Clue of the Broken Locket. Oh I loved that!

    I loved the Narnia series too and can imagine your joy at having your girls enter into the wonder! Isn't it a gift that we can relive our own beautiful memories as we enter into childhood again with them? Love this post, Somer! xoxox

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  3. I am continuously enjoying coming back to your blog time after time. I enjoy the stories you share about your girls. I thinking the entire time that we need to be childlike to have faith. I love how our kiddos show us that everyday when we mess up. So much love and forgiveness. I wish as a child that I was shown some books that actually challenged me. I did read most of the Narnia books and enjoyed them too. Well to actually think about it more, they are not books but tapes, Adventures in Odyssey. As an adult, I still love listening to them and recently introduce them to my little one. She doesn't understand much but recognizes the song when I start playing them. We also have Patch the Pirate. anywhosee...good post and thank you for stopping by my blog too : )

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love where you went with this prompt! I loved the Chronicles of Narnia as a kid, and still reread them occasionally as an adult - I can't wait until my Littles are old enough to enjoy them (until then, we'll listen to the radio theatre versions in the car ;)
    Also, because I can't figure out how to comment on my own posts, the list post you commented on is based on the book "The 52 Lists Project" by Moorea Seal - there's also 52 Lists for Happiness. <3

    ReplyDelete

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