Thinks on Things

A gathering of ponderings…

Happiest Childhood Memory

a friend gave me a challenge. i accept.

What is your happiest childhood memory?

Trying to think back to my childhood so long ago has led me to a couple specific memories that have brought me a particular happiness in being a kid and in being the person I was. War and Legos have played key roles in developing who I am today and how I see God shaping me and my life.

In our ‘hood, being a kid meant war. And I loved playing war with all the neighbor kids, but since our family went to church, we were not allowed to own guns. Real guns, fake guns, plastic guns, squirt guns. All were seen as instruments of evil and destruction and were banned from our house. Instead, we would scour the yard for sticks that looked like guns (and even some that didn’t) and we would run around shooting each other by simply shouting “BANG!” We lived in a prime neighborhood with the elementary school across the street providing a huge expansive playground system for our antics. There was a telephone company on one corner of our block which was nearly always vacant and offered some great trees and fences. Not too much farther  away were a couple different churches that, well, only saw use minimally and they were way too good to pass up. We used entire city blocks to their fullest potential by tearing through the surrounding yards, jumping fences and stone walls, climbing trees and neighbors’ sheds, crawling under bushes, shrubs, cars, and culverts. We would climb trees and sit on rooftops and run through private gardens and jump over 20ft fences just to get the best sniper positions or the quickest shortcuts to cut off the enemy.

All of this took place in an ever enlarging territory as we thought of ourselves being bigger, badder, tougher, and sneakier with each passing summer. Inevitably, some crazy old lady, who would never understand our need for her yard, would catch one of us crawling through the rhubarb patch and threaten to call our parents, or in some cases, the cops. We never thought that she would be able to recognize us in a line-up, but we ran just the same. The escape would consist of hightailing it around an entire block or two before circling back home to ease the adrenaline-induced fear that somehow she could have followed us with her cane.

Rain or shine, sun or snow, these neighborhood battles were definitely a highlight of my childhood. Looking back on all of the craziness and illegality of it all, I’ve come to realize that it was the adventure and risk of the hunt and the imagination involved that was the real appeal. It has made me realize just how key these activities are to a young boy’s growth and how it ties in with who God is and how much he loves adventure and challenges.

And when outdoor challenges were not on the menu, Danish plastic was the way to go. The freedom to use my imagination to create worlds and battlefields and castles and space stations with Legos was a major outlet to express the stirrings within. Remembering the monstrosities that my brother and I would build, I can see now how beneficial it has been in realizing how God has shaped me.

I love to create and I love seeing potential and possibilities. Even simple plastic blocks one centimeter long offer a world of opportunity. But the creative mind of God is infinitely greater than all of my Lego worlds combined. Knowing this has constantly driven me to return back in wonder and amazement at how truly awesome God’s mind must be.

Being a kid inherently involves a certain level of adventure and imagination. Too often these things are lost as we grow older and we forget where these longings initially come from. Seeing other kids playing war or building Lego models brings back my own memories and reminds me to look to God and remember who he is.

October 13, 2010 Posted by | Faith Thinks, Life Thinks | Leave a comment