by James Mar
Here's an old Chinese saying to give from the start.
"Great is the person who hasn't lost a child's heart."
This is the fine message I still hold so dear.
I tell it to my granddaughter every year.
"When you grow up, just keep this in mind.
As life goes by, don't leave it behind."
"But poh-poh, I don't want to be a kid forever.
Do I want to stay short for all of my life? Never!"
"Aiy... it doesn't have to do with being big or small.
It's about embracing a youthful spirit, that's all."
"How 'bout we go to the park so we can play?
I can tell you what I mean along the way."
So my granddaughter and I went out for a walk.
Balancing on the curb, I continued to talk.
"The older you get, the more troubles you'll find.
The waves of life can pull you further behind."
"Poh-poh, poh-poh, does this mean it's awful to grow old?
The thought of becoming a teen now makes me feel cold."
"Ha hah hah. Don't worry about that sort of thing.
Though growing has its pains, there'll be joys to bring."
"I'm not trying to say growing old is so bad,
Just make sure you don't forget the fun that you had."
"Will you look at those swings! Doesn't that look fun?
Why don't we race there and see who's number one?
"Let's close our eyes and count up to ten.
On the final number, you'll know when."
"We'll say it in Cantonese, hope you know how.
Ready? Yat, yi, saam, sei, ng, luk, chaat, baat... gau!"
"Grandma! You only counted to nine! That's no fair!
I say I won the race cause you cheated! So there!"
"Ha hah hah!
Ho ho lah!"
"I remember being like you when I was your age.
I may be older, but at heart we're on the same page."
"To be like a child is to be cheerful and free.
You haven't a care in the world, just look at me!"
"When your life see-saws up and down,
And when it's stressful all around..."
"Do you know what I always do?
Return to the child I once knew."
"Poh-poh, when I'm not feeling right, what do I do?
Because I'm still a kid, I haven't got a clue."
"Not everyone approves of childish actions.
For many grown ups, we're just constant distractions."
"Some people tell me to grow up and behave.
It makes me feel like I'm holed up in a cave."
"Don't feel that way; it might be for your own good.
It could be a warning to do what you should."
"Whether jumping ropes or hop scotching life,
Every game has rules in preventing strife."
"But don't let those things spoil your day.
There's time for work and time to play."
"Having a youthful spirit sets you right.
It fills your life to the brims of delight."
"You'll be glad to still have it by the time you're all old.
It's the secret to happiness and worth more than gold."
As my granddaughter and I continued to play,
We saw all of our worries dissolving away.
To end my wisdom, let me depart.
Treasure your childhood; stay young at heart.
Copyright 2017 James Mar Studio. All rights reserved.