Age of Innocence

Recently I’ve been spending time pre-reading books for my children. At first I looked on this task with a little annoyance. I don’t have enough time to read the books on my own wishlist, let alone a bunch of children’s books. So a small pile of books sat on my bedside table gathering dust.

Finally I picked one up and turned to the first page with a sigh. I’d just read it and get it over and done with.

Several hours later I closed the book with another sigh. The kind that comes with a smile and a tear in the eye. What an amazing book, I thought. I couldn’t wait for the following evening, to begin another one.

So now I’m choosing to read my children’s literature, before my own. I’m enjoying reading them. They make me frown, and cheer, and smile.

My husband recently joined in the action. My pile had grown considerably larger after a book sale at the local library. He picked up one of the Little House books. For several days, he kept sharing parts in it he loved. He’s planning on reading it aloud. I noticed that he’s working his way through the next one in the series.

As I reflected on this enjoyment we are both taking in reliving our childhoods, rediscovering old friends and making new ones, ones I wished I had made years ago, a quote came to mind:

“The greater our innocence, the greater our strength and the swifter our victory” – Mahatma Gandhi

Children’s books usually retain some element of innocence in them. The really good ones are magical in their sense of goodness and fairness and all that is right.

The innocence of childhood is lost on us. We live in a world saturated with such flagrant selfishness, that innocence is a foul word.

As homeschoolers we are constantly confronted with the idea that sheltering our children will make them naive. Yes, we reply.

I want for my children to be naive. I want for them to be innocent.

My children are not, however ignorant. They know about death, and war, and evil. They just haven’t encountered it firsthand, or even for that matter, secondhand.

They, like the books I have been reading, believe the good guys always win, in the end. That the “bad guys” can turn out to be okay. That life is ultimately good and fair and right. Believing that will equip us all to make the world a better place.