This morning my mind wandered back to a trip taken with the kids recently. We headed to the capital city to bathe in history, art and beauty. We came away refreshed, having seen massive domed buildings from a hundred or two years ago, painted ceilings and motifs across many walls telling the story of what led to statehood in pictures.
Then I went to Italy. There I was introduced to the tangible history from thousands of years back. The frescoes that detail religion, the immense structures which scream POWER and display the gaudy wealth of the eras. Mosaics so fine they almost have brush strokes, and marble statues so realistic one only knows there is no blood in the vein carved thus because the stone is cold.
To attempt a comparison of the two would be an egregious affair. No, I only bring these two to the same page because it helped me understand how young my own country is and how long both lands have been under development by Europeans. With this new perspective on time (millennia vs. centuries), I understand why many, much older cultures, are annoyed by Americans. We are like eight-year-olds in the scheme of cultural history. Every idea we think is original; every accomplishment deserving of laud. Attempting to tell others how they should do things and not listening or implementing ideas from others with more experience. This age runs on the power of hope and potential, young energy seemingly endless during waking hours. They also notice everything, though some information uptake is through the unconscious, much of it rearing up at inopportune moments after the latent memory is ignited.
Eight-year-olds are great fun to be around and to play with, but they are less likely to be the people who can broker well-rounded and thoughtful solutions to complex issues. My experience with children this age has taught me that they bring a fresh, virile love of living to the table which adults tend to bury under stacks of prejudices and ego. We have all been eight years old. Let’s try to remember that hope and realize our potential for peace.