1. “That was fun.”
2. “I want in.”
This past Saturday I watched The Jungle Book with my 10-year-old son. These were our two different responses.
I thought it was fun.
My son wanted to go home and climb trees.
I enjoyed it. I enjoyed him. I enjoyed our time together. Afterwards I listened from the kitchen as Judah breathlessly told his mom all about the story.
But Judah wanted to live it. Watching wasn’t enough. He wanted in.
So he made it happen. He ran outside to play and didn’t come in till dinner. Then Sunday morning he came downstairs with prisms in his eyes. He’d had a dream. He was running with the wolves, swinging from the trees, being chased by a panther. He had joined the story.
I could give a bunch of caveats about adulthood and responsibility. I could list all the cutenesses of boyhood that don’t translate into adulthood, not if you want to make a living and not starve and have a family and etcetera. But I won’t. Because if that’s the first thing you think, you’ll probably never join a story. Or you’ll just stay safely fixed in the concrete jungle of the grey-scale stories we tell ourselves to make a safe meaning out of life.
Do you join the story? Do you want in? Or do you just sit and watch and think to yourself, “That looks fun”?