Carmen Rasmusen Herbert: The gift of childhood

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 31 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

What an important lesson I learned that day! I realized I had spent so much time trying to create a magical Christmas that I had forgotten children have an innate ability to summon magic and wonder all on their own. For the most part, if they’re fed and well rested, children are unfailingly optimistic. They are always looking for fun. They laugh easily. They focus on the positive and have a unique ability to look for the good in situations, and in each other.

And they believe. Perhaps not in “Elf on the Shelf” or Santa Claus, but they do believe in Christ. Even their tender hearts know this truth.

These last few months, I’ve watched with surprise how quickly my 5-year-old seems to be growing up. And it’s breaking my heart.

In that same text message, I shared a thought with my good friend: “Isn’t it interesting how Christ came to Earth as a baby?” Heavenly Father very well could have sent him down to Earth at any age. He could have come as an adult, just as he appeared to the people in the Americas after his crucifixion.

But he came to Earth as all of us do. Mary gave birth to Jesus. She rocked him, fed him, probably stayed up late soothing him to sleep, taught him, cared for him and oh, how she must have loved him!

Christmas is magical with children, but life is magical with children. Every day is full of wonder and new discoveries. We are taught in the scriptures to “become as a little child” (3 Nephi 11:38). We are born in complete innocence and angelic light. We are as pure as the snow, and spend most of our lives trying to keep that purity and light.

I spend so much time waiting for my children to grow up. Sometimes I find myself saying, “I can’t wait for them to be a little older so I can … ” Yes, maybe day-to-day life would be a little more manageable with older children, but it will also be perhaps a little less magical when they suddenly grow up.

This next year, I want to strive to fully enjoy my children as children.

How grateful I am for the gift of childhood.

Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News.

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