Thursday, June 21, 2007

You Gotta Love the Things Three-Year Olds Say

No one can deny that three-year olds are cute. Not only are they physically cute, but so too, the things they say are cute.

After Mass this past Sunday at our church, our daughter Cecilia...

looked at this statue of St. Francis...

...and she asked:

"Is that St. Skull?"

Brought a big smile to my face, she did. And henceforth I shall always call to mind this preciously innocent misnomer whenever I behold an image of Assisi's favorite hometown hero.

This episode also prompted me to recall my favorite Chesterton essay, A Defence of Baby Worship:

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...

The essential rectitude of our view of children lies in the fact that we feel them and their ways to be supernatural while, for some mysterious reason, we do not feel ourselves or our own ways to be supernatural. The very smallness of children makes it possible to regard them as marvels; we seem to be dealing with a new race, only to be seen through a microscope. I doubt if anyone of any tenderness or imagination can see the hand of a child and not be a little frightened of it. It is awful to think of the essential human energy moving so tiny a thing; it is like imagining that human nature could live in the wing of a butterfly or the leaf of a tree. When we look upon lives so human and yet so small, we feel as if we ourselves were enlarged to an embarrassing bigness of stature. We feel the same kind of obligation to these creatures that a deity might feel if he had created something that he could not understand.

But the humorous look of children is perhaps the most endearing of all the bonds that hold the Cosmos together. Their top-heavy dignity is more touching than any humility; their solemnity gives us more hope for all things than a thousand carnivals of optimism; their large and lustrous eyes seem to hold all the stars in their astonishment; their fascinating absence of nose seems to give to us the most perfect hint of the humour that awaits us in the kingdom of heaven.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Clever girl. ;) "St. Skull"