Robert and I took our first small trip since, BC – before Covid, which seems like centuries ago as opposed to only 15 months ago.

Our destination was Pella, Iowa for the 86th tulip festival.

It’s quite an idyllic town. Home to a little over 10,000 people, it was founded by immigrants from the Netherlands – thus the tulips, windmills, and Dutch accents everywhere.

Pella, Iowa Tulip Festival

The final night of our stay included a performance by a young singing group called the Acapellas (who sang with a band – go figure), followed by a jazz band, a parade, street cleaning by young and old decked out in Dutch attire, and ending with fireworks.

Added to the entertainment was lots of people watching from our perch at the top of the grandstand bleachers.

Wherever there is music, you can count on small children breaking into unbridled dance. There were several moving every which way to the music, full of joy.

How We Lose Our Child Within

I nudged Robert and said, “Isn’t it too bad that when you reach a certain age you can’t do that anymore. It would be judged as inappropriate behavior – unless you were a really good dancer.”

As children we are encouraged to draw and paint and dance and play. Then ever so slowly we are told not to behave a certain way. The joy gets knocked right out of us. We lose our playfulness.

Jesus talked about children a lot. He said to let the children come to him and unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

He was talking more about childlike trust and humility. Children depend on their parents for everything. When we trust God fully, we experience peace, joy, and freedom. We can reconnect to that child-like joy that gets kicked out of us.

Expressing Childhood Joy through Experiences

On the bus ride home, our tour guide played a performance by a Christian comedian named Jeanne Robertson. I love to laugh, and I love comedians. I laughed through the entire 60 minutes.

It got me thinking that experiencing a performance like that is an “appropriate” way to let go and express that joy through laughter. The same goes for watching a live sporting event when you get to scream and shout and jump up and down when your team scores.

If you have young children or grandchildren, you get to participate in silly or childhood activities. Even having a dog or cat gives you permission to speak in a high-pitched voice or baby-like tones.

When life starts to steal your joy, what child-like activities can you do to bring a smile to your face?

Some Childhood Activities to Hold Onto that Child Within

Here are a few tame ones:

  • Skip rocks on the water
  • Blow bubbles
  • Build a sandcastle or play in the sand
  • Make s’mores
  • Skip (you can’t be sad and skip at the same time)
  • Look at the stars and name the constellations
  • Color in a coloring book
  • Swing on a swing

Hold onto the child within.

Any childhood pleasures you still do? I’d love to hear about it.

The older I get, the more I need to let go or unlearn what I have learned! If you have a hard time letting go, this free Letting God Meditation, Prayer, and Three Steps to Letting Go could help.