Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Keep the Child in View

As blogosphere joins most other spheres in New Year’s lists and resolutions, I’m determined not to. Oh, I can’t beat them, but I won’t join them. It’s plenty crowded over there and mine won’t be missed.

Because where I am, lists have a diluting effect. And lots of lists are a dilution of the dilution.

Have you noticed that when we tell of one child who is affected by some horrible challenge, the telling is more effective than when we pile them up? The Diary of Anne Frank, the story of *one* Holocaust victim, was a door to the event that killed millions. A million and a half Jewish children perished. But we remember Anne.

And so the other day, when I heard this quotation from Charles Dickens, I instantly knew that I had a new motto, a guiding pole, for the New Year. “Keep the child in view,” Dickens wrote.

All right, not a list, but one luminous guidepost. Keep the child in view.
Dickens’ children with their pet raven “Grip,” by Daniel Maclise 1841

DS was asking me why so much emphasis on the horrible massacre in Newton Connecticut is put on the twenty young victims, and not the six adults who died trying to protect them. His point was rational. These adults did something heroic. These adults had dependents and have lived lives of effort and striving. Why is the whole world focused on the children, with an afterthought of a mention about the adults?
My response, after some contemplation, was that the adults’ life journeys were already set. We knew them as teachers, school principal, and the school psychologist. But the children, every one of them, were a world of possibilities and wonder. A possible inventor who will change the world. A possible great leader, or even a prophet.
That is what keeping the child in view means to me: keeping that sense of possibility and wonder. Keeping it in my story telling and in my life.
Welcome 2013. I will remind myself to come back to Dickens, and keep the child in view.


  1. I didn't make any resolutions either, but have one word I want to try and live by: balance.

  2. Love this post for so many reasons. Yes, children have all but faded from our priorities -- we must keep their best interests at heart in our own. Happy New Year!

  3. I think we focus more on children because they are innocents. Not that adults can't be, but children aren't our babies and we are meant to protect them. JMO

  4. I think we focus on the children because a barrier was crossed that hadn't been crossed before. We explain away other horrific events by saying, "Well, it was one woman's jealous husband," or "He had a grudge against that business." Thereby explaining why it was a special, isolated case. But when you shoot innocents, in a place no one would consider dangerous, we are forced to face that no one is safe anywhere or anytime.

  5. A wonderful guidepost to help remain focused and steady.

  6. great post mirka. i am eating cookies while posting :) they are almost as great as the post.

    1. Brava, Diane, for finally being able to post. Seems allowing 3rd party cookies did it!