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Jacob Hatcher

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By Jacob Hatcher  

Community columnist  

We were in a park surrounded by hot air balloons and peddlers of cheap, plastic glowing toys. Music was blaring across a field of people as we waited on sundown for the fireworks to start. In the grass behind us were some kids throwing a football. I immediately saw our six-year-old longing to join them like a lion longing to pounce on a gazelle. Eventually he came up and said, “Daddy, can I make friends with them and play football too?” 

Of course, I said he was welcome to join them, but before he could screw up the courage they had moved on.  

He was sad for a second, but then moved on to some other game with his siblings. As I sat in my lawn chair, I wished we could all be like a six-year-old. I thought about how simple it is at that age. They see something they want to do, and they just go ask if they can do it. They’re not weighed down by the baggage of past; they don’t have much of a concept of “What if that kid doesn’t like me?”  

How much easier would life be if we could all have the innocence of a six-year-old? If we could only see the world with those eyes. Those eyes that see someone doing what they like and just assume they will be your friend. What if we walked through the world unafraid to make silly faces in pictures and dance with wild abandon to Everything Is Awesome for the millionth time?  

What kind of life would we have if we saw jumping across the storm drain in the yard as the biggest physical challenge we’ve ever faced, and then jumped across without hesitation because fear hasn’t tamed our hearts?  

I realize the world I imagine is naïve to even hope for it, but I think it’s ok to be naïve for a few minutes. The real world will be waiting when we wake up, so why rush it? Now, if you’ll excuse me, my kids are playing Ninja Warrior with the neighbor kid and want an audience.