This I Believe

Jenny - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Entered on January 20, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: children
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I believe in cherishing the simple ways of

childhood because eventually everyone will

outgrow their days of youth like an old pair of

jeans from back in second grade.

There was a time when being a child meant

running around in a superhero cape and

holding up your most prized action figure

because that was your idol, or when Barbie

and plastic tea sets were your

sophisticated “best friends”. To me, childhood

was the call to be carefree while standing on

top of the world, a world that was built solely

out of innocence, storybook beliefs, and a

sense of naive ness. I was shielded from any

contact with loss, suffering, and pain: the

realities of life I didn’t bother to include.

I remember as just a kid in elementary

school, happiness was found in the miracle

workers of cookies and milk. Fulfilling my

stomach was easy, as was following directions

and being selfless towards others; cleaning up

after myself and learning to treat others with

regard would result in the award of a golden

star next to my name on the poster board in

the classroom. Earning the most amount of

gold stars was my primary goal, nothing else

compared in importance, and as silly as that

may sound, I found that it taught me to be a

better person with the teachings of common

courtesy and respect.

In school and at home, my life as a child

operated in a simple manner, I had simple

objectives and simple values. My concerns

involved the ability to sing the alphabet

song without mixing up the order of ‘M’ and ‘N’

and doing addition and subtraction problems

faster than my classmates. I admit that in

many ways, I was protected from the complex

aspects of the world, a whole other dimension

that would not be able to supply my questions

with a one word answer or give me an

explanation of why things were the way they

were, but being protected meant keeping the

simplicity in my childhood for a little longer,

before having it be taken from me like how

the overnight rain washes away the sidewalk

chalk drawings of flowers and fairies.

Over the years, however, I grew so that my

old pair of jeans from back in second grade no

longer fit. I began to comprehend what was

like to fear, lose, and be defeated in life rather

than in addition and subtraction. I understood

that responsibility came outside of just

keeping track of a mega-size box of 36

crayons, or that making the right decisions

could not always be defined with a gold

star, but rather with sacrifice.

My days of youth, though outgrown, will

always remain apart of me, like a treasured

scrap of my baby blanket woven into the quilt

of life. I may never again relive the comforting

ways of cookies and milk, but I believe that its

only made me cherish all the simple, often

taken for granted things, even more.