I went back to first and fifth grade today as the special friend of two of my grandchildren. I was struck by the innocence of the children and their youthful enthusiasm; and I wondered what they were experiencing, what dreams they had, and, unfortunately, about the evil they would inevitably encounter.
Upon reflection, they seemed devoid of pride, envy, and fear of others and full of compassion. Perhaps Rousseau was right after all. Maybe growing up really does corrupt us. In the end, though, I sensed the beauty of selves not yet corrupted by a tawdry world.
Then again maybe my romantic sensibilities were being activated, blinding me to the mixed human nature within these young minds that would, as it did for the rest of us, eventually assert itself. I don’t know.
I just know that for a brief hour, the world held promise.