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Our perspectives on the outside world shift as we grow older and, for those first fifteen years or so, bigger. Our memories fail to adjust accordingly. Think about it: have you ever gone back to your elementary school (or even your high school) and sworn that it used to be... well, not so tiny?
Remember when you had a babysitter and you thought she/he was the very pinnacle of womanhood/manliness? Think about that now that you know she/he was all of fourteen years old at the time.
Pull out your favorite childhood VHS and reminisce about how you would watch it for hours. Then find a VCR, dust it off, find a place in town that will actually repair it, and then watch that tape. Yeah, it's all of twenty five minutes long.
That's kind of what rereading the first Hardy Boys book, The Tower Treasure, was like for me. Even as a young reader, I could whip through one of those adventures in about two hours... but now, that seems like an hour longer than necessary. I remember the mysteries being truly mystifying. I remember being terrified of the hobo who locks Frank and Joe in an old, rotten water tower -- like, I couldn't go to sleep after reading about his dirty, cackling face disappearing behind the trap door.
Now? Not quite so frightening.
Revisiting a childhood favorite is a good lesson in relativity, though. I feel like I see all the time some instance of an adult coaxing a kid by saying, "Oh, come on, it's not too far" or "Oh, come on, it's not too scary" or "Oh, come on, it's not too tall." The adults aren't lying -- the challenge in question is neither too far nor too scary nor too tall.
To the adult, at least.
We may not be able to fully sympathize with folks of another culture or gender. But everyone is a kid at least once. Perhaps we could all benefit from occasional reminders of what intrigued or overwhelmed or otherwise affected us in our own smaller days, so we can better comprehend how our smaller counterparts are interacting with their worlds.