Childish Things

When I was a child I spoke as a child, understood as a child, I thought as a child.  But when I became a man, I put away childish things.  Sometimes I wonder if putting away those things was the wisest thing to do, realizing now as a man, that the foundation on which I stand was laid for me when I was a child.  Sometimes I think if maybe I put away the wrong things, because as I grew, the adult things I now hold on to like excess baggage only make me wish for the childish things that I hid in the name of growing up.  If I only knew now, what I knew then, things would be much different.

When I was a child I spoke as a child.  I spoke from my heart.  I said what was on my mind.  The words that came out of my mouth were honest, because I was taught to always tell the truth.  I was encouraged to always ask questions, especially if there was something I didn’t understand.  But when the questions got too hard for grown folks to answer, or they thought the answer was something a child couldn’t handle, I was in trouble for having a smart mouth.  So I learned how to keep it shut.   And from fear of getting in trouble, I learned how to lie.  Speaking the truth and pursuing questions was a childish thing that when I became a man, I put it away.

When I was a child I understood as a child.  I understood from an early age that when I went to school I was different.  I enjoyed being different.  While other kids had long stringy hair, my lil afro was tight.  The skin given to me by Divinity was just as beautiful. I understood that I was just as intelligent and talented as everyone else. I understood that I was genuine and unique, and my uniqueness made me special.  I was proud and unashamed.  I also understood all too well why other little boys didn’t want to play with me.  I understood that being called a sissy wasn’t a good thing, so maybe my being so unique was God’s mistake.  So I put away all that pride, and learned how to hide myself.  I learned how to be what people wanted so they could be comfortable around me.  I understood very young that if I was to survive, my uniqueness had to be a secret.  Being proud of who I naturally am was a childish thing.  When I became a man I put it away.

When I was a child I thought as a I child.  I thought I could change the world.  Whether by non-violence like Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King or Ghandi.  Or like Malcolm X,  by any means necessary.    I thought I could make a difference.  I could be the First Black President, but Barak Obama beat me to it.  “Happily ever after” was mine I believed.  I don’t know when I stopped believing that.  Somewhere along the way I did, but after hard times, disappointments, and having my heart broken repeatedly, I learned that putting away this childish thing could be the death of me.   I couldn’t think what everyone else thought of me.  I’d have to guard my thoughts like I’m guarding my most valuable possessions, because my thoughts keep hope alive in me.  My thoughts make me who i’m supposed to be.  As a man thinks, so is he.

I shouldn’t have put away dreaming big dreams.  Now I fight to hold on to thinking good things.  I now know that love of God, self and others is something I should constantly build on instead of putting it away.

Now that I’m a man, I speak as a man.  I understand as a man.  I think as a man. The childish things were not to be put away, because they are the foundation on which my life I was meant to build.  Those childish things are what make me the strong man that I am.


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