If it were possible via the internet, I would begin this article by asking you to close your eyes and listen, as I read a short story called â€œAn Epiphany Taleâ€ by George MacKay Brown. The story is about a young boy who is blind, deaf, and dumb.
On one single startling day, three strangers successively visit his home â€“ pausing on their pilgrimage to another Child, far far away.
The first visitor gives the boy the gift of hearing. For ONE MINUTE.
The second visitor, when he comes, gives the boy the gift of sight. For ONE MINUTE.
The third visitor gives the boy the gift of utterance: for ONE SECOND.
How â€“ the boy wonders â€“ could any human being endure such ravishment of the senses, every hour of every day for many winters and summers?
It is so easy to not see beauty. Â To not hear it. Â To not speak it. Â To not apprehend and respond to it: every hour of every day for many winters and summers.
Ready apprehension of â€˜simpleâ€™ or â€˜naturalâ€™ beauty seems innate in young children; yet if not practiced, that â€˜readinessâ€™ is so easily lost. What stops a child in his or her tracks Â â€“
Â Â a dragonfly â€“
can become invisible to theÂ â€˜maturingâ€™ human. The ability to readily apprehend canÂ be re-cultivated; but what a gift if never lost. And in the course of maturation, from child to adult, one of the great gifts of great childrenâ€™s literature is that it can repeatedly call the maturing child to keep, maintain, sharpen that ability to apprehend beauty,
and, to respond to it.
And implicit in that transmission between author and child â€“ what the child somehow learns â€“ is that it is possible to be an adult who isnâ€™t too cynical or blind or self-important or simply too busy to do the same: for, such are the authors who wrote these books.
Apprehending beauty is not always easy. For apprehension of beauty requires participative effort on the part of the beholder. Sometimes it is simply a matter of remembering to see when we look, to listen when we hear: the backdrop of a sunset; the giggle of a baby. But, as with the development of any ability, sometimes education is necessary. You may think that an example of â€˜obvious visual beautyâ€™ would be, say,Â a Monet â€“ Â and yet critics declared his the â€˜horrid work of a lunaticâ€™ when they first saw it.
Responses toÂ Degas,Â to Renoir,
were the same.
Van Gogh only sold 3 paintings during his lifetime.
Strange as it may seem to us now, viewers had to learn a new visual language to access the beauty of these paintings.
This was true of myself with abstract art.
Not familiar with the language, I didnâ€™t understand it, nor did I take the time to engage with it. For me, once, a painting like this by Makoto FujimuraÂ was inaccessible, unappealing. Nice colours at best. My response was childish: I donâ€™t get it; I donâ€™t like it. I am slowly learning to be more childlike in my responses: curious, asking questions, open to learning something new. Less scared of changing my opinion. Seeking out education. I am far from fluent in the language that abstract art speaks, but Iâ€™m starting to understand it. And as I do so, I become increasingly able to apprehend its beauty. To respond to it, to take delight in it. To engage with it. Not least because: this is an expression of another humanâ€™s apprehension of some aspect of Godâ€™s world. But it requires an effort; a cultivation of reception on my part. A choice to treat the other â€“ whether a living creature or a creation (by God or a creation by someone made-in-his-image) â€“ as something worthy of my attention and response.
To â€œI-Thouâ€ it, if you will.
That I make that effort does not guarantee that I will apprehend the intrinsic beauty nor am I arguing that beauty will always exist within human creation â€“ but if I do not make that effort to apprehend, I will never know. Nor have the right to declare it absent.
It is this type of education â€“ education in the apprehension of different expressions of Beauty â€“ that many voices in classic childrenâ€™s literature proffer your children.
And although I hope this is not their only source of such education, the worlds that lie between those book-covers, the friends your children make therein, provide one of the richest educational environments available for a continued development of the skills and attitude of apprehension â€“ counteracting the usual attrition incurred during the process of aging.
There once was a man who did not like spiders. At all. But one day he began to watch one. One that looked just like this.
He became attentive. And in that space of attentiveness he began to see what a wonderful creature it was, and,Â what a skillful weaver. So unobjectified became that spider in his perception, that he even decided to name it. Wanting to share the beauty that he had discovered, he wrote a story â€¦
At last Wilbur saw the creature that had spoken to him in such a kindly way le viagra sans ordonnance. Stretched across the upper part of the doorway was a big spiderweb, and hanging from the top of the web, head down, was a large greyÂ spider. She was about the size of a gumdrop. She had eight legs, and she was waving one of them at Wilbur in friendly greeting. “See me now?” she asked.
“Oh, yes indeed,” said Wilbur. “Yes indeed! How are you? Good morning! Salutations! Very pleased to meet you.Â Â What is your name, please?Â Â May I have your name?”
“My name,” said the spider,” is Charlotte.”
“Charlotte what?” asked Wilbur, eagerly.
“Charlotte A. Cavatica. But just call me Charlotte.”
“I think you’re beautiful,” said Wilbur.
…and so now do thousands of children, who have read their story. Perhaps not all of them, and perhaps they do not think the same of all spiders. But youâ€™ll be hard-pressed to find a reader of Charlotteâ€™s Web who would describe CharlotteÂ as ugly.
Part of what enabled E.B. White to marvel at the beauty of that first Aranea cavatica is that he made an effort â€“ even if just a little one, to come to know it. As do then the readers of his story. It is not perhaps an unfamiliar phenomenon with you that the more you come to care for someone, the more beautiful you perceive him or her to beâ€¦
By introducing our children to certain authors, we are introducing them to voices we implicitly indicate that we trust. And many â€“ if not most â€“ of the voices in what is considered classic childrenâ€™s literature are voices of people who have chosen to cultivate an apprehension of beauty: chosen to pause and listen, look, ponder; to engage with the world around them; to make an effort to understand; to develop a relationship, to come to know. To â€“ in all their â€˜maturityâ€™ â€“ be childlike rather than childish.
These voices become the friends of our children; the company they keep. And just as I might call my nieces over to see the colours of an iridescent bug, or make them stop and listen to the frogs at night â€“ being more able to invite them into my own perception because of the relationship they have with me â€“ so too can Mary of The Secret Garden (because they have journeyed with her, developed a type of relationship with her)Â remind them not only that every bulb is a miracle waiting to happen and that thereâ€™s something wonderful about the smell of rain and fresh-turned dirt. â€¦but, they may even come, like she, to apprehend that Dickon â€“ with his turned up nose and oversized mouth â€“ is beautiful. Beautiful because of who he is. Indeed, Mary herself grows more beautiful â€“ even physiognomically â€“ as she becomes more able to apprehend beauty. Apprehending this is an educational exercise â€“ one that better equips the reader in his or her â€˜apprehension of beautyâ€™ outside the covers of that storybook.
As they model such apprehension, such authors frequently defy convention.
I know I was not the only child-reader of George MacDonaldâ€™s fairy-tales struck by the continuous pairing of beauty and age â€“ the old wise women are always beautiful in his tales because they are so old.
MacDonald’s communicated perceptions led me to swear as a 12 year old that I would never pretend to be younger than I am, but would welcome each grey hair, see each wrinkle as its own story. Â
He also taught me to look at hands differently:
I doubt if the princess was very much happier even in the arms of her huge [ancient beautiful] great-grandmother than [â€¦] Curdie [and his father] were in the arms of [Curdieâ€™s mother].Â
True, her hands were hard and chapped and large, but it was with work for them; and therefore, in the sight of the angels, her hands were so much the more beautiful.
Viewing the world alongside such visionaries can sustain and nurture both the attitude and the ability of apprehension in children.
By the end ofÂ the Velveteen Rabbit, most readers understand that that raggedy creature is not just loved, but beautiful;
those who travel through Wind in the Willows learn not only the beauty of an untamed river, but also of the friendships found in its reaches.
And speaking of untamedâ€¦
perhaps few characters present beauty from so many different angles as Aslan:Â in a playing a game of tag with Susan & Lucy; Â as he laughs at the wildness of Bacchus; as he weeps over the body of Caspian; as he sings Narnia into being; as he cries out â€œfurther up and further in.â€
With each of these scenes Lewis is teaching a different mode of apprehending, of engaging with, beauty. Modeling a response. An adult voice that shows our children that maturation does not mean ceasing being childlike; that one can age and yet remain â€œas one of theseâ€ â€“ continue to apprehend beauty, and respond to it. Even, to participate with it.
the heavens declare the glory of GodÂ â€“Â in apprehending their beauty, in stopping to see the sunset, you participate in that declaration.
By encouraging your children to regard the world through the eyes of authorsÂ who understand that Christâ€™s call to be childlike cannot be divorced from his call to be attentive either to the lilies of Monet, or to the lilies of the field,Â you are providing an opportunity for them to develop a life-long attitude of apprehension,
to cultivate ever-growing skills of apprehension of beauty.
Be forewarned: you are also increasing the likelihood that theyâ€™ll draw you into participating with them â€“Â if not every hour, at least every day, for many winters and summers.
May it be so.
cialis savings card ciprofloxacin drug class azithromycin 5 day dose pack levitra generic for cialis zithromax z-pak sophia viagra cialis dosage strengths viagra vs cialis acyclovir cream viagra tablet celexa vs lexapro tamoxifen langzeitfolgen natural viagra wholesale cialis finasteride side effects finasteride 5mg zovirax pills cialis effects does lexapro cause weight gain cialis pills for sale pfizer viagra coupons from pfizer cialis on line cialis for sale cipro dangers levitra bayer 20mg meilleur prix viagra vs cialis vs levitra finasteride side effects in men azithromycin liquid acyclovir medication what is azithromycin used for herbal viagra over the counter viagra zithromax zithromax 500 mg lexapro weight gain lexapro vs celexa cipro dosage cialis dosage recommendations how does lexapro work viagra en ligne livraison 24h 200 cialis coupon cialis online acyclovir 400 mg levitra without a doctor prescription discount cialis ciprofloxacin nebenwirkungen how to get off lexapro finasteride and enlarged prostate ciprofloxacin used for cialis price cialis otc what is cipro cialis pricing what is ciprofloxacin acyclovir for cold sores levitra vs viagra for hardness lexapro and weight gain cialis professional what is ciprofloxacin used for cyalis viagra pillen kruidvat azithromycin medscape viagra ohne rezept auf rechnung cialis 10 mg cialis pharmacy prices cialis patent expiration date extended what is lexapro for viagra natural cialis tadalafil lexapro generic name viagra from canada cialis samples overnight ciprofloxacin 250mg ciprofloxacin 500mg tablets how long for lexapro to work what does ciprofloxacin treat ciprofloxacin side effects in women what is lexapro used for online cialis zithromax dosage buy cialis cialis pills viagra side effects finasteride 5mg tab discount viagra viagra bestellen lowest cialis prices finasteride reviews online viagra generic viagra price cialis side effects of ciprofloxacin finasteride 5 mg tab post finasteride syndrome generic for lexapro ciprofloxacin spc azithromycin and alcohol how to wean off lexapro lexapro benefits for women is ciprofloxacin a penicillin levitra vs viagra side effects of acyclovir first few days on lexapro viagra pills lexapro and wellbutrin combination therapy viagra 100 mg generic levitra escitalopram effets secondaires cialis prices viagra coupon escitalopram side effects ciprofloxacin uses zovirax how long does viagra last lexapro medication levitra 20mg cost per pill what is viagra levitra coupons buy viagra tamoxifen therapy cialis vs viagra acyclovir dosage finasteride 5mg side effects mayo clinic what is cipro usually prescribed for viagra wikipedia viagra generico viagra tablets side effects of lexapro in women lexapro reviews cialis reviews ciprofloxacin eye drops cialis side effects sex viagra for women what is acyclovir used for what is acyclovir for viagra for sale uk azithromycin side effects what does viagra do is tamoxifen chemotherapy side effects of finasteride viagra 100 ciprofloxacin dosierung acyclovir 800mg tamoxifen and foods to avoid how to use viagra propecia acyclovir for shingles azithromycin 250 finasteride 1mg cialis coupon acyclovir 400mg azithromycin 250 mg viagra tesco generic viagra 100mg ciprofloxacin hcl what works better than viagra viagra sans ordonnance lexapro withdrawal symptoms viagra medicine ciprofloxacin hcl 500 mg side effects what is tamoxifen levitra 10 mg prezzo tamoxifen and weight gain finasteride permanent side effects ciprofloxacin drops stopping lexapro levitra 20mg azithromycin without a doctor’s prescription levitra vs viagra antibiotic ciprofloxacin azithromycin for uti viagra activate azithromycine generic cialis ciprofloxacin dosage escitalopram 10 mg para que sirve liquid cialis cealis cipro drug class buy viagra online cialis testimonials lexapro 5mg cheap viagra what is lexapro azithromycin 250mg tablets 6 pack cialis alternative lexapro 10 mg lexapro bula cialis 20mg directions azithromycin pregnancy what is finasteride lexapro generic lexapro dosing lexapro dosages utilisation viagra viagra vs cialis vs levitra nolvadex finasteride hair loss tamoxifen cost tamoxifen citrate azithromycin 500mg azithromycin for pneumonia lexapro manufacturer website lexapro vs wellbutrin cialas cialis free trial tamoxifen lawsuits azithromycin for strep throat azithromycin z pak generic lexapro how to take cialis effects of stopping lexapro suddenly finasteride long term effects cialis 5mg daily viagra for sale viagra online side effects lexapro viagra nebenwirkungen tamoxifen side effects in women over 55 ciprofloxacin class levitra prices cialis coupons levitra dosage viagra soft ciprofloxacin side effects side effects of azithromycin 250 mg daily cialis levitra 20 mg precio farmacia tamoxifen nebenwirkungen cialis 20 mg viagra ohne rezept aus deutschland free cialis levitra online buy levitra cialis canada escitalopram 10 mg ciprofloxacin coverage lexapro side effects men levitra 20 mg von bayer ciprofloxacin side effects after age 60 cialis discount lexapro for anxiety lexapro 20mg viagra pill what is cipro used for cialis sample canadian viagra best price viagra acyclovir 800 mg generic levitra vardenafil 20mg side effects of tamoxifen azithromycin 500 erfahrungen azithromycin 250 mg treatment cialis cheap cialis for bph levitra generic ciprofloxacin 500 mg tabletten cipro for uti what is ciprofloxacin prescribed for common side effects of ciprofloxacin 500 mg what is azithromycin for cialis for daily use what is escitalopram azithromycin uses female viagra cialis generic tadalafil acyclovir side effects side effects of finasteride 5mg escitalopram acyclovir vs valacyclovir generic cialis tadalafil escitalopram 10mg cost of cialis finasteride 5 mg escitalopram nebenwirkungen azithromycin eye drops cipro uses viagra wiki is lexapro a controlled substance viagra coupons what does finasteride do cialis vs viagra what does ciprofloxacin 500mg treat levitra erfahrungen cialis copay card zovirax ointment viagra for men tamoxifen viagra uk cialis without a doctor’s prescription ciprofloxacin cialis voucher viagra without a doctor prescription cipro antibiotics cialis trial viagra for women zovirax for cold sores acyclovir dosing ciprofloxacin hcl 500 mg tab cialis coupons from manufacturer viagra costs what is tamoxifen used for buy levitra online ciprofloxacin ophthalmic solution cialis cost vardenafil vs viagra lexapro vs zoloft canada viagra viagra alternatives buy generic viagra how much does cialis cost azithromycin class viagra sex cipro and tendonitis what is cialis ciprofloxacin hydrochloride ophthalmic cialis for women viagra without a doctor prescription usa finasteride for women escitalopram oxalate azithromycin tablet cialis 20mg viagra on line ciprofloxacin hcl 500 mg acyclovir levitra prezzo in farmacia where to buy viagra cipro viagra price azithromycin pediatric dosing what does azithromycin treat buy cialis online canadian cialis withdrawal from lexapro cialis 5 mg cipro antibiotic equipe argentine viagra ciprofloxacin 500mg antibiotics side effects of viagra viagra effects acyclovir 800 mg for shingles acyclovir 200mg tamoxifen interaction ciprofloxacin 500 mg for urinary tract infection finasteride results cialis 5mg what infections does ciprofloxacin treat lexapro and weight gain in women tamoxifen bijwerkingen azithromycin is azithromycin cialis patent expiration cialis coupons printable lexapro side effects in men cialis samples azithromycin vs erythromycin viagra kaufen thuoc azithromycin viagra 100mg tablets retail price pfizer viagra lexapro side effects levitra coupon azithromycin pregnancy category levitra 20 mg azithromycin 500 mg cialis patent expiration 2017 how long for azithromycin to take effect viagra single packs acyclovir dose cialis generic lexapro dosage erectile dysfunction cialis canada cialis ciprofloxacin for dogs zovirax dosage cheap levitra is azithromycin penicillin viamedic cialis side effects of ciprofloxacin 500 mg free viagra acyclovir 800 mg 5 times a day cialis coupon 20 mg viagra alternative vardenafil 20mg ciprofloxacin 500 when will cialis go generic cialis for men acyclovir dosage for cold sores finasteride vs dutasteride viagra prices ciprofloxacin bnf viagra canada how to wean off lexapro without withdrawals viagra on line no prec acyclovir ointment finasteride medication viagra cialis escitalopram 20 mg viagra 100mg side effects of lexapro how does viagra work finasteride efectos secundarios cialis medication generic cialis at walmart buying viagra finasteride tablets cialis 30 day sample cialis website azithromycin 500 tamoxifen and bone pain how does acyclovir work lexapro and weight loss viagra substitute acyclovir ointment 5 ciprofloxacin 500 mg revatio vs viagra finasteride 5mg side effects what is finasteride used for cheap cialis azithromycin cost cialis generic availability cipro side effects women viagra azithromycin three times a week side effects of lexapro 10 mg azithromycin dosage side effects of cialis zovirax cream side effects of azithromycin what bacteria does ciprofloxacin kill order viagra azithromycin 250mg cialis or viagra azithromycin drug class propecia side effects lexapro coupons levitra 20 mg cost walmart tamoxifen side effects in women cialis from canada viagra receptfritt tamoxifen side effects lexapro para que sirve zoloft vs lexapro viagra cilias lexapro withdrawal zithromax antibiotic cipro 500 weaning off lexapro lexapro 9 levitra at walmart viagra 50mg cialis dosage lexapro 10mg levitra rezeptfrei deutschland lexapro overdose finasteride for hair loss cialis coupons 2017 what is acyclovir finasteride dosage what is azithromycin viagra cost cialis 30 day trial coupon azithromycin tablets finasteride viagra generic viagra vs cialis azithromycine eg 500 mg bijsluiter azithromycine 250 mg cialis coupon print cialis daily finasteride effets secondaires azithromycin coverage ciprofloxacin 500mg ciprofloxacin 500mg antibiotics side effects cost of viagra effects of stopping finasteride lexapro side effects in women ciprofloxacin hydrochloride viagra samples ciprofloxacin dose cialis buy generic levitra how does cialis work cialis canadian pharmacy wellbutrin and lexapro cipro side effects in elderly viagra dosage ciprofloxacin 250 mg