Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.
As the summer ends and our visitors leave, we remember the funny things that occurred, especially if much younger children are part of the entourage – grandchildren, if you will. Staring us in the face are holidays fast approaching which will find, once more, an onslaught of visitors. The time has changed but not the experiences. It reminded me of an essay I once read, as follows:
After the summer holidays, a teacher asked her young pupils how they spent their holiday away from school. One child wrote the following:
“We always used to spend the holidays with Grandma and Grandpa. They used to live in a big brick house, but Grandpa got retarded and they moved to a senior community where everyone lives in nice little houses, and so they don’t have to mow the grass anymore!
They ride around on their bicycles and scooters and wear name tags because they don’t know who they are anymore. They go to a building they call the wreck center, but they must have got it fixed because it is all-okay now. They do exercises there, but they don’t do them very well. There is a swimming pool too, but they all jump up and down in it with hats on.
At their gate, there is a dollhouse with a little old man sitting in it. He watches all day so nobody can escape. Sometimes they sneak out and go cruising in their golf carts.
Nobody there cooks, they just eat out. And, they eat the same thing every night – early birds. Some of the people can’t get out past the man in the dollhouse. The ones who do get out bring food back to the wrecked center for potluck.
My Grandma says that Grandpa worked all his life to earn his retardment and say I should work hard so I can be retarded someday too. When I earn my retardment, I want to be the man in the dollhouse. Then I will let the people out, so they can visit their grandchildren.”
Out of the mouths of babes! That is what I thought when I read it. It certainly is amazing what children see and perceive. I believe we all have the same difficulties at times when we see something we do not quite understand.
Perhaps we can learn from this essay. To me, the lesson is to think about what we witness and use caution when we jump to conclusions. More often than not we see things that are not there, or really do not matter. The next time we think we know what we saw or heard, stop and re-read the essay. It certainly is timeless.
I guess we can all learn from children. What a refreshing idea!