BBC Radio Leicester Thought for the Day

© John Denney 18 August 2005

Childhood

 

I like children.  I used to be one.  And looking back across half a century and more, I remember my childhood as mostly enjoyable.  I liked school.  I liked being a sixer in the Wolf Cubs.  I played soccer on chilly Saturdays in winter, and cricket under blue skies on Saturdays in summer.  It snowed heavily every February, and we used to toboggan down Wakerley Hill, where the houses are now, at the risk of life and limb.  In summer, armed with some jam sandwiches and an apple, we’d spend the whole day at Spinney Hill Park, and used to buy home-made penny ice lollies from the corner shop there.

 

For my tenth birthday, my parents furnished me with the wherewithal to go with my friend Keith on the bus to London Road railway station, onto a train for London, then on the Tube to the Science Museum in Kensington, where we spent the rest of the morning happily pressing buttons.  Then to Lyons Corner House for pie and mashed potatoes and that wonderful cabbage they served in little pots, then more button-pressing, finally retracing our journey home, arriving back around nine o’clock, exhausted but happy.

 

Many things that children take for granted today didn’t exist then.  From the end of Children’s Hour at 5.45 until Television Newsreel at 7.25, the black and white telly was off the air.  Does anyone still long for the White Dot, as I sometimes do?  Meals were meat and two veg. and on Sundays a steamed pudding or apple pie.  None of your pasta or yoghourt or turkey twizzlers; curries only if you’d served in the Far East; no calculators, computers, CD players or mobile phones.  Life was a lot simpler – and a lot more innocent.  Would anyone today let their ten-year-old trip to London unaccompanied, as I did?

 

And Jesus said we have to stop being sophisticated, stop being intellectual, stop being wary, stop being, in short, “adult-minded”, if we want to be part of Jesus’ eternal family.  He took a small child and said I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.[1]

 

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[1] Matthew 18:3-5 NIV