What it Means to Be Young at Heart. Re-Discovering My Imagination.

What it Means to Be Young at Heart. Re-Discovering My Imagination.

Kids love the mundane. They love repetition. They love simplicity. Why doesn't it last?
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I know four kids. Let’s call them Sally, Molly, Matthew and Katie. When they go to the beach, they don’t see shells. They see a galaxy of clattering stars hanging from driftwood. They see dinner plates, tea pots and sugar bowls.

When they encounter a forest of bamboo, which they tell me they did recently, what they saw was an army of soldiers and a parade of fairy princesses.

In many ways, their imagination reflects Yahweh, the God of the Jews you encounter in the first book of the bible - Genesis.

There you meet a God who takes the unformed world and flings stars into space. Whose imagination runs wild and free a He imagines - and brings into being - plants, people, snow, beatles that can sing and cats who purr.

And all of this makes me think: what is it that makes these kids so vivid in their imagination? What is it that makes them so alive to their surrounds? I notice that these kids don’t watch television, and, having considered the research, I think that counts.

What we put into our minds counts. Garbage in, garbage out, as they say.  Young Minds are formed quickly and tend to absorb and soak up everything around them. They delight an exploration.

Television robs us of so much of the imagination's capacity for free thought. Children also delight in the mundane.

As Chesterton writes in his book Orthodoxy (1908),

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.”

This sounds like the kids I spoke with above. And it also speaks of me. Somewhere along the line, wheat Grown Ups lose the capacity for spontaneity and the ability to exalt in monotony.

We consider monotony on a par with monogamy.  We think that the real satisfaction lives out there in the great unknown. We have lost the capacity to exalt and rejoice in the mundane.  and because of this, we grow restless.  We become agitated, anxious, depressed and irritable.

How can we remedy this?

Some people might say that this doesn't need a remedy.  some people will say that we ought not tolerate the mundane and the monotonous. But I beg to differ.

I love what I see in the freedom of these little children as they turned in sticks of bamboo into colourful dolls and brave soldiers.  I love the tea party is made entirely out of  beautiful shells.

I want to be there for that tea party. I want to see the bamboo at war and I want to see the princess saved and the dragon slain.

So I know what I want, but I'm not yet too sure on how to remedy the dullness that has come over me in my adult life.

I think I should start with reading some Classic Children's literature. A. A Milne and Winnie-the-Pooh would probably be a good place to start. Wind in the Willows would not be a bad place to go either.

beyond that I think I have to simply start spending more time with my children..  I think there's a reason why the elderly get such a thrill when they see young children.  there is something vital, and rejuvenating about young children who still have an imagination.

Whatever steps I need to take to rediscover my own imagination, I am prepared to take. If I only to be closer to those who in this world seem to have the most life.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels CC0 License

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5 Reasons I Will Defend The Oxford Comma To My Grave, AP Style Be Damned

I will fight you on this.

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As a very passionate English major, I have something to say: the elimination of the Oxford comma is not okay. In case you don't know, by definition, the Oxford comma is the last comma in a list, typically right before the conjunction.

I have grown to love this comma, as it provides the clarity many list-oriented sentences need. There is absolutely no reason to eliminate this comma, and I will continue to defend my point of view for these five reasons.

1. List items are equal

Superhero Grammer

If the sentence above were to be spoken in real life, the speaker would be attempting to refer to three different entities. Because the first entity includes two people, it appears that the speaker is specifying the who the people in the first entity are. If there was a comma between "Superman" and "and," the fact that the speaker is talking about three entities would be much

2. Differentiates one item from another

US Comma Court Case

The separation powers of the Oxford comma can be make-or-break in lots of sentences containing lists of tasks. Unclear situations can cause all sorts of problems. Just take a look at this court case.

3. It sounds fancy

Oxford

If your mind doesn't automatically go to beautiful images of England when you hear the word "Oxford," we need to talk. Oxford is fancy, period end of story.

4. Pleasing to look at

Comma Meme

Don't tell me you don't find the Oxford comma aesthetically pleasing. It provides an immense amount of visual organization that is unmatched by any other punctuation.

5. Taught to us in school

Comma Joke

I was a teenager when the Oxford comma started to disappear from grammar textbooks. My peers and I had been taught to use this comma for our whole grammar education. Don't you dare try to take it away from me now.

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Youth Homelessness. Where Will You Sleep this Christmas?

Let's find a way to keep the next generation off the streets this Christmas.
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Homelessness is always a sad thing, but it is even worse when it’s youth homelessness. New South Wales in Australia has seen a significant increase in the number of homeless children in the state.

This is a trend that has continued for over the last 20 years, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up anytime soon.

According to NDIS provider, The Samaritan Foundation, as many as 26,000 Australian children are living under homeless conditions each night and about 731,000 children in Australia live under the poverty line.

Many of these children often sleep in cars, friends’ houses, hotels, or on the streets outside. 

Between 2015 and 2016, New South Wales homelessness organisations had helped over 18,400 people who were between the ages of 15 and 24 years old. 

Shelters and homelessness service providers are seeing hundreds of more homeless youth requesting their help each year. As a result, the problem of youth homelessness is clearly getting worse instead of better.

Below are the top 4 causes of homelessness in Australia:

Escaping Abuse

An abusive household is a huge reason why many kids end up on the streets. They simply want to get away from the violence and arguing in their household so that they can find some peace and serenity in their lives.

The children are often the victims of this abuse, and instead of telling someone about it, they just run away because they’re too ashamed.  

Family Troubles

Families that fall under hard economic times may become homeless because they cannot afford a place to live. Parents in this situation usually want to be providers for their children, but they simply don’t have the means to do so.

This forces the children to either become homeless with their parents or to become homeless on their own. 

Abandonment 

Parents who abandon their children or kick them out of the house at a premature age will cause them to become homeless.

There are many reasons for why parents might do this to their children, but if the children are too young, they won’t have the means of taking care of themselves. 

Mental Health Issues

Something that doesn’t get talked about enough is children with mental disorders. A lot of homeless youth are suffering from these mental disorders. According some research (Johnson and Chamberlain, Are the Homeless Mentally Ill?, Salvation Army 2011) a disproportionate number of homeless people in Australia also suffer from some kind of metal anxiety, depression or mental disorder.

This makes it so much harder for them to get off the streets because they don’t have the mental capacity to land a job or get themselves cleaned up. Without someone stepping in to help them, they will stay homeless indefinitely.

Turning the Problem Around

A big reason why homelessness continues to trend is that these children don’t get the help they need fast enough. If they’ve been out on the streets for a few years or longer, it is going to be hard for them to ever reintegrate back into society.

Things, like going to school and getting a job, will seem too surreal for them to consider. 

In New South Wales, the state government is looking to crack down on this problem.

Instead of letting homelessness service providers handle everything, the government and local communities are looking to help troubled youths early on before they even become homeless. 

That way, they won’t fall into a hard life that they mentally can’t pull themselves out of.

Homelessness is always a sad thing, but it is even worse when it’s youth homelessness. New South Wales in Australia has seen a significant increase in the number of homeless children in the state.

This is a trend that has continued for over the last 20 years, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up anytime soon.

According to NDIS provider, The Samaritan Foundation, as many as 26,000 Australian children are living under homeless conditions each night and about 731,000 children in Australia live under the poverty line.

Many of these children often sleep in cars, friends’ houses, hotels, or on the streets outside. 

Between 2015 and 2016, New South Wales homelessness organisations had helped over 18,400 people who were between the ages of 15 and 24 years old. 

Shelters and homelessness service providers are seeing hundreds of more homeless youth requesting their help each year. As a result, the problem of youth homelessness is clearly getting worse instead of better.

Below are the top 4 causes of homelessness in Australia:

Escaping Abuse

An abusive household is a huge reason why many kids end up on the streets. They simply want to get away from the violence and arguing in their household so that they can find some peace and serenity in their lives.

The children are often the victims of this abuse, and instead of telling someone about it, they just run away because they’re too ashamed.  

Family Troubles

Families that fall under hard economic times may become homeless because they cannot afford a place to live. Parents in this situation usually want to be providers for their children, but they simply don’t have the means to do so.

This forces the children to either become homeless with their parents or to become homeless on their own. 

Abandonment 

Parents who abandon their children or kick them out of the house at a premature age will cause them to become homeless.

There are many reasons for why parents might do this to their children, but if the children are too young, they won’t have the means of taking care of themselves. 

Mental Health Issues

Something that doesn’t get talked about enough is children with mental disorders. A lot of homeless youth are suffering from these mental disorders. According some research (Johnson and Chamberlain, Are the Homeless Mentally Ill?, Salvation Army 2011) a disproportionate number of homeless people in Australia also suffer from some kind of metal anxiety, depression or mental disorder.

This makes it so much harder for them to get off the streets because they don’t have the mental capacity to land a job or get themselves cleaned up. Without someone stepping in to help them, they will stay homeless indefinitely.

Turning the Problem Around

A big reason why homelessness continues to trend is that these children don’t get the help they need fast enough. If they’ve been out on the streets for a few years or longer, it is going to be hard for them to ever reintegrate back into society.

Things, like going to school and getting a job, will seem too surreal for them to consider. 

In New South Wales, the state government is looking to crack down on this problem.

Instead of letting homelessness service providers handle everything, the government and local communities are looking to help troubled youths early on before they even become homeless. 

That way, they won’t fall into a hard life that they mentally can’t pull themselves out of.

Cover Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/worried-girl-woman-waiting-sitting-413690/

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