I Spy a Triceratops

On a recent walk along the Thompson Creek Trail, while praying for our church, I overheard a mom and her son playing the “I spy” game. I heard them before I saw them, her gentle, patient voice giving helpful clues to her hopeful, guessing son. As they rounded a corner and their voices grew louder, I heard a hilarious and tender exchange.

The mom said, “I spy with my little eye…” and before she could continue, her little son interrupted with, “A triceratops!” And her response melted me.

She said, “No, it’s not a triceratops, it’s something smaller.”

I passed by them at that point, so I never learned what it was that she had spied with her little eye, but her response to her son’s innocent guess stayed with me.

Of course, the mom wasn’t seeing a triceratops—she was many millennia too late for that—but it didn’t stop the little boy from expressing his imaginative hope. That’s what childhood innocence does; it wears its heart on the sleeve, dreams big dreams, and believes the world is still filled with wonder and enchantment.

And his mom’s response showcased what a safe, older person does. They protect the innocence without crushing it. They make room for the creativity without stifling it. They need to say no—triceratopses are not walking the Thompson Creek Trail—but they say it in a way that honors the personality.

Wonderment and gentle coaching. Our world would function better with greater doses of both. We are far too caustic and far too harsh, too pragmatic, and too uptight. There is a reason Jesus said that those who embrace the humility of a child will be called “the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4).

I didn’t spy a triceratops on my walk that day, but I spied something greater, a snapshot of life the way it was meant to be, expressed through a mother and her son.

2 thoughts on “I Spy a Triceratops

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s