Nurture Your Inner Child

Jethro Aldo Lee, Editor, Reporter, Web Manager

Maturity. Maturity is often encouraged by society. It has a right to do so—people who are “mature” are typically more capable of handling a greater amount of responsibilities. Codes of conduct for “gentleman” and “ladies” are expected to be acknowledged when children reach the necessary age to do so.

 Should one’s maturity displace one’s sense of youth?

According to Shaker sophomore Vincent Zhang, the answer is no. He thinks that “many of our sentiments are matured beginning from our early childhood.” Hence, he “believe[s] there is value in conserving child sentiments.”

 Shaker senior, Numa Khan, echoes Zhang’s stance, elaborating that she “do[es]n’t necessarily see anything negative in merit about clinging to childhood nostalgia.” As one who watched Avatar: The Last Airbender as a child, she “allows [her] inner child born from nostalgia to experience the same euphoria[s] [she] would have [as a kid]” when re-


encountering joys of the past, “had [she] been younger when [the re-encounters] happened.”

Like Khan, I will never forget my golden childhood memories. In the spring of 2013, my parents had offered the dream vacation for any high-spirited fifth grader: a trip to the beloved Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Adrenaline pulsed through my body and I was overcome with intense anticipation as I had never gone to the resort before. However, when I told one of my friends about my upcoming journey, he warned that the trip was going to be “boring,” claiming that kids at our age were “too old for Disney”. At the time, I ignored his comments and continued to hold my excitement.

The experience was truly worth something to remember. Enjoying vivid parades, racing for character signatures, sprinting endlessly to a tremendous amount of rides—my spirit had shined brighter than the sun’s reflection on the breathtaking Seven Seas Lagoon. On the last day of our trip to Hollywood Studios, tears abundantly welled up my eyes. I wondered when I would be able to be in touch with such a magical experience ever again.

My wish would come true six years later.

My parents had announced that the family was to re-embark to Disney World. However, instead of the adrenaline pulsing through my body like before, dread washed over me like a sandcastle toppled over by the menace of a wave. I believed that I could not indulge in any “childish” moments as I had in the past. Instead, I felt determined to pursue more “adult” tasks, pouring every ounce of effort into living as productive a life as possible. Rather than merrily running around the house as I had done before, I simply nodded at my parents’ declaration, secretly apprehending what was to come.


 8 A.M.: August 15, 2019.

 With a groan, I forced myself out of my hotel bed to prepare for the bus to the Animal Kingdom. We had planned to go on numerous rides, but the one that seemed to arouse the most excitement was the new Avatar experience. However, an ominous sign listed that the ride’s wait time would be two ridiculous hours. I dragged my feet through the agonizing line. Oceans of sweat profusely appeared on my head. My back felt like it was hoisting the weight of all the elephants in the world. I wanted to go home.

Yet, I subtly observed little kids jumping up and down with rushed excitement. Surprisingly, I also noticed teenagers around my age who, instead of being grumpy like I was, were smiling and laughing, even in the scorching Florida summer heat. 

A wave of nostalgia hit me. It was then that I realized that I missed being a kid. I realized with utter disappointment how much of my tender childhood I had taken for granted. I would never be able to have the free time and uncomplicated lifestyle I had back then.

 But even though it was impossible to go back to those simpler times, my soul still yearned for them.

 Allowing my youthful spirit to unleash itself from the chains of adolescence, I immediately perked up at the sight of a character meet-and-greet at a section of the park. I eagerly waited thirty minutes to get a selfie with none other than Launchpad McQuack and Scrooge McDuck. Capturing the invaluable photograph made me want to dance with pure joy—I felt like a child again. I spent the rest of my adventure blissfully enjoying my colorful surroundings: the sweet Disney songs dancing through my ears, the glamorous nature displayed at the zoo, and the invigorating scents of fresh plushes in merch stores. Above all, I had fun.

 Whether or not I would ever return to Disney, in my heart I knew that my child-like wonder was everlasting. I was still a seventeen-year-old approaching junior year, striving to be as productive as possible. However, I realized that precious moments when I can finally put the tasks of adulthood aside were not to be taken for granted. I now understand that my mind has space to accommodate my youthful spirit. I now understand that a truly mature individual is one that is capable of accomplishing the tasks of adulthood while nourishing his childhood sentiments to maintain mental harmony. 


Zhang understands this concept well, providing that the “sentiments that can allow an individual to maintain a positive attitude [are] essential in maintaining [his] own well-being.”

Khan has found comfort in integrating those sentiments in her adulthood experience itself. For her, she acknowledges that Avatar has actually helped her to develop as a better adult since the show contains “universal themes… which are absolutely helpful to know as one entering adulthood”. An adult can never blossom by letting go of his past.

As Zhang boldly outlines, “maturity is not achieved by the riddance of childhood sentiments.”

How eloquently stated.

Take Walt Disney, for instance. Following his belief that “too many people grow up,” the financially successful man created a park that contained the childhood sentiments necessary for one to hold onto their youthful spirit—all by himself.


A feat as great as this is definitely a sign of true maturity.