There are not enough adults in the world who are willing to admit that they miss childhood.
Alright, I know some people’s childhoods were awful—Awful with a capital “A.” There are, sadly, a great number of people whose childhoods were Dickensian in terms of horribleness, growing up as impoverished little Olivers or manipulated Estellas.
But every child grew up with a fantasy world. For some it was the digital world spoon-fed them by video games. For others, the worlds spread out for them on television shows or movies. And the truly lucky ones found their worlds hidden in the pages of books and built them on their own.
I was always horrible at crafting elaborate fantasy lands without the help of some outside source. My own inner sanctum was a combination of Narnia and Middle Earth that always turned out looking more like the Appalachian Mountains than anything else. I stopped talking about it with my friends because they often scoffed at its lack of originality. I go there still, every so often, but it’s faded and cracked around the edges, like an old black-and-white photo you might find in a trunk in the attic.
But it lives still. And I know I’m not the only one out there who still revisits the mental playgrounds of their childhoods.
I know there are others in the world who see a particularly beautiful painting hanging on a wall and long to step inside it and take a walk. I know there are others who open up old picture books and wish that more than anything they could just wrap themselves inside it, fall into it, and not come back again.
Adults never lose their ability to fantasize. Trouble is, when children grow up their thoughts turn to ambitious dreams of having money, power, romance, the esteem of others, security—or nobler dreams of saving lives or making a positive impact in the lives of others. There comes a point where, for whatever reason, Wendy can’t fly back to Neverland, and Peter and Susan are too old to return to Narnia.
But I know there are people in the world who hold these adult dreams in one hand while still holding their childhood dreams in another. Both are worth keeping and exploring. The worlds of our pasts effect our present worlds. The power of imagination produces some of the greatest art.
God made our minds to imagine things—otherwise worlds like Wonderland and Middle earth wouldn’t exist in anyone’s minds at all. God dreamed up the world and spoke it into existence. Since we’re made in His image, with His thumbprint on our souls, we imagine and create as well. He gave us our minds (and childhoods) for a reason. It’s best to use them, so that the little ones who follow us will have room to dream.