09 July 2014

Commonplace Wednesday 7

From The Passionate Observer by Jean-Henri Fabre

The real, which is perfectly simple, and supremely beautiful, too often escapes us, giving way before the imaginary, which is less troublesome to acquire. Instead of going back to the facts and seeing for ourselves, we blindly follow tradition.
He lives twice who watches the life of others.
From The Life of the Spider by Jean-Henri Fabre
Formerly, to describe this group, people said 'articulate animals,' an expression which possessed the drawback of not jarring on the ear and of being understood by all. This is out of date. Nowadays, they use the euphonious term 'Arthropoda.' And to think that there are men who question the existence of progress! Infidels! Say,'articulate,' first; then roll out, 'Arthropoda,' and you shall see whether zoological science is no progressing.
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary by J.R.R. Tolkien
...the eager applause with which Beowulf's desire to go away on an adventure [was greeted] is very likely derived from a fairy-tale situation in which men were glad to be rid of the strong loutish youth.
...when Anglo-Saxons made Sceaf the son of Noah born in the ark, it was not mere genealogical fantasy...It was rather a process, due to a line of thought closely related to the ideas of the Beowulf-poet. It gave the northern kings a place in an unwritten chapter (as it were) of the Old Testament.
The English language has changed--but not necessarily improved!--in a thousand years.

02 July 2014

Hobby Lobby

I was going to make a long post about the ridiculous backlash about Hobby Lobby in the wake of the Supreme Court decision, but, thankfully, Liberty.me has it covered, and thus I save some time.

No, Hobby Lobby is Not Violating Your Rights by Britney Logan

For the record, the company I work for pays me on a 1099. That means that I am officially a contract worker; by a free transaction, I sign a contract with the company to do x, y and z for them, and they agree to pay me x, y and z for my services. Which is, you know, how all employment should work anyway. That contract does not include health care, so I buy my own health insurance. Is the company somehow stealing my freedom to have health insurance? Not at all. I'm still totally free to have health insurance. In fact, I do have health insurance. That I buy. With the money I've earned. Because that's how you get things in a free market.

Likewise, if Hobby Lobby says, "We don't agree with these 4 forms of birth control and don't want to buy them for you," does that mean that they are denying their female employees any freedom? No. Those employees can go out and buy those forms of birth control. With money. Because, once again, that's how you get things you want...you earn money and then buy them. But of course, I'm just one of those crazy people that think the government shouldn't be passing laws that regulate the free agreements made between employees and employers to begin with, so what do I know?

Well, I said this wasn't going to turn into a long blog post, so before I make myself a liar, you'd better just click on the link above and read the article.

Commonplace Wednesday 6

From The Passionate Observer by Jean-Henri Fabre
My conviction is that we can say things without using a barbarous vocabulary: lucidity is the sovereign politeness of the visitor. I do my best to achieve it.
Others again have reproached me with my style, which has not the solemnity, nay, better, the dryness of the schools. They fear lest a page that is read without fatigue should not always be the expression of the truth. Were I to take their word for it, we are profound only on condition of being obsure.
You rip up the animal and I study it alive; you turn it into an object of horror and pity, whereas I cause it to be loved; you labor in a torture-chamber and dissecting-room, I make my observations under the blue sky to the song of the Cicadas; you subject cell and protoplasm to chemical tests, I study instinct in its loftiest manifestations; you pry into death, I pry into life.
…the insect interests me much more when engaged in its work than when stuck on a pin in a cabinet.

27 June 2014

I, Claudius and Quo Vadis

Ah, it’s summertime and time for the proverbial summer reading. So what do I, a teacher of ancient history and literature, do in the summertime? Well, this year I decided to read two historical fiction novels about the early Roman Empire simultaneously: I, Claudius by Robert Graves and Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz.

The premise for I, Claudius is that it is the long-lost autobiography of Emperor Claudius. In writing this book in the 1930s, Robert Graves was attempting to represent the latest scholarly data on Claudius. Claudius was a weak-legged man whose head shook and who spoke with a stammer. Because of this, his nephew Caligula never viewed him as a threat, and he survived Caligula’s reign while every other member of the royal family was killed. However, as emperor, his symptoms improved and he claimed to have exaggerated his malady in order to survive. Most ancient historians held a low view of Claudius and didn’t seem to buy this excuse. However, writings of Claudius, discovered in the early 1900s, show that he was an erudite and scholarly man with extensive knowledge of history. By telling the story from Claudius’s perspective we get to see both this private Claudius and the public Claudius of the ancient historians.

Claudius begins his book by telling of how Augustus became emperor, and of his grandparents and parents in that time period. The book continues through his childhood during the reign of Augustus, his life under Tiberius and Caligula, and finally through Caligula’s assassination and Claudius’s accession to the throne. This covers the period from 31 BC to AD 41. The characters were all well crafted, in addition to being real historic figures, and I really came to sympathize with Claudius despite his numerous faults. Of course, the novel is being written from Claudius’s perspective, so one must always wonder if Claudius’s perspective is completely accurate in every situation.

Along the way Robert Graves takes numerous opportunities to show the “true story” behind the commonly accepted history through various conspiracies and plots. Part of my joy in reading the story was seeing these little excursions. For example, when Augustus died, his nephew, Postumus, who was in exile, was put to death. A few years later, a slave named Clemens appeared in Rome claiming to be Postumus and causing quite a stir until he was captured. In I, Claudius, before he dies Augustus decides to pardon Postumus, and, to keep his actions hidden from his wife Livia, he secretly goes to the island where Postumus is in exile and switches him for the slave Clemens. Thus when Augustus dies it is Clemens who is executed and the man who pops up in Rome a few years later is the real Postumus. Because of these things, it is best not to get your history from I, Claudius (one should never get one’s history from historical fiction), but more importantly, I would suggest reading Tactius’s Annals of Imperial Rome and Suetonius’s The Twelve Caesars before reading I, Claudius to get the maximum enjoyment out of all the inside jokes.

Near the end of I, Claudius, we meet Marcus Vinicius, one of the conspirators who join in the assassination of Caligula. The novel Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz opens under the reign of Nero around AD 64, about 23 years after I, Claudius ends, and features the fictitious son of the real Marcus Vinicius. This son, also named Marcus Vinicius, may be fictional, but almost all of the other main characters in the story are real people who were nobles in Rome in the time of Nero.

Returning from the wars, Vinicius meets Ligia, the daughter of a foreign king who was taken as a hostage when she was very young and has been raised in the house of Aulis Plautius and his wife Pomponia. Vinicius immediately falls in love with Ligia and decides he must have her. His friend Petronius pulls some strings with the emperor and has her removed from Aulis’s house and brought to the palace from which Vinicius plans to take her to his house as a slave/lover. However, Ligia is a Christian, like her adoptive mother Pomponia, and when she is on her way to Vinicius’s house a group of Christians from the city surround the litter and carry her off to a secret and safe place. Vinicius is enraged to be cheated of his woman and hires a Greek spy to find out where she is so that he can get her back. This inevitably brings him into contact with Rome’s Christian community and even into contact with the apostles Peter and Paul.

I don’t want to say much more about the book for fear of spoiling the plot. However, while this private drama is playing out, politics are moving forward as well, and for those who know their history, this can only lead to one thing: the burning of Rome and the persecution and mass slaughter of Christians in the aftermath. And though, like Vinicius, Ligia is a fictional character, the Christian Pomponia as well as most of the other major characters are real. By the last quarter of the book, there are some heart-wrenching and gruesome scenes to slog through, made all the more difficult to read by the fact that similar things really did happen in Nero’s Rome.

The two books, I, Claudius and Quo Vadis are both superb examples of historical fiction. (Quo Vadis even won Sienkiewicz the Noble Prize for literature.) I, Claudius is a more sweeping story about the family of the emperor over the course of about 70 years, whereas Quo Vadis is a more intimate story centered on the relationship between Vinicius, Ligia and the Christians in Rome. It takes place all in the course of about a year with an epilogue that briefly narrates the last few years of Nero’s reign. I, Claudius is plot-oriented and fast-paced; Quo Vadis is more slow-moving and focused on characters instead of events. I highly recommend both for those interested in a snapshot of Roman culture in the first century.

I, Claudius by Robert Graves 5/5 stars
Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz 4/5 stars

25 June 2014

Commonplace Wednesday 5

From Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz

Vinicius did not think now that there was nothing new in the words of the old man, but with amazement he asked himself: "What kind of God is this, what kind of religion is this, and what kind of people are these?" All that he had just heard could not find place in his head simply. For him all was an unheard-of medley of ideas. He felt that if he wished, for example, to follow that teaching, he would have to place on a burning pile all his thoughts, habits, and character, his whole nature up to that moment, burn them into ashes, and then fill himself with a life altogether different, and an entirely new soul. To him the science or the religion which commanded a Roman to love Parthians, Syrians, Greeks, Egyptians, Gauls, and Britons, to forgive enemies, to return them good for evil, and to love them, seemed madness. At the same time he had a feeling that in that madness itself there was something mightier than all philosophies so far. He thought that because of its madness it was impracticable, but because of its impracticability it was divine.
From Symposium by Xenophon
Without friendship, as we full well know, there is no society of any worth.
From On the Art of Reading by Arthur Quiller-Couch
You will never enjoy the world aright till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars.
All that Shakespeare says of the king, yonder slip of a boy that reads in the corner feels to be true of himself.
The man we are proud to send forth from our Schools will be remarkable less for something he can take out of his wallet and exhibit for knowledge, than for being something, and that something reconisable for a man of unmistakable intellectual breeding, whose trained judgment we can trust to choose the better and reject the worse
From I, Claudius by Robert Graves
"So, I'm Emperor am I? What nonsense! But at least I'll be able to make people read my books now."

19 June 2014

Commonplace Wednesday 4 (On Thursday)

From I, Claudius by Robert Graves 
…then I told Livy what pleasure I had derived from reading his books since Athenodorus has recommended them to me as a model fro writing. So everybody was pleased, especially Livy. “What! Are you to be a historian too, young man?” he asked. “I should like to be worthy of that honorable name,” I realized…
Athenodorus used to stroke his beard slowly and rhythmically as he talked, and told me once that it was this that made it grow so luxuriantly. He said that invisible seeds of fire streamed off from his fingers, which were food for the hairs. This was a typical Stoic joke at the expense of Epicurean speculative philosophy.
 “Yes, Livy will never lack readers. People love being ‘persuaded to ancient virtue’ by a charming writer, particularly when they are told in the same breath that modern civilization has made such virtue impossible of attainment.”
 Soldiers really are an extraordinary race of men, as tough as shield-leather, as superstitious as Egyptians and as sentimental as Sabine grandmothers.

From Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
 “People say that Rome will perish, and there are some even who contend that it is perishing already. And surely! But if that should come, it is because the youth are without faith, and without faith there can be no virtue. People have abandoned also the strict habits of former days, and it never occurs to them that Epicureans will not stand against barbarians.”
“More than once have I thought, Why does crime, even when as powerful as Caesar, and assured of being beyond punishment, strive always for the appearances of truth, justice and virtue? Why does it take the trouble?...What a marvelous homage paid to virtue by evil!”

16 June 2014

Widdecombe Fair (Disturbing Folk Songs that kids love)

We sing with our kids and have sung to our kids quite a bit since they were wee, little. When my oldest child, Luther, was very small, we bought a copy of a book called The Fireside Book of Folk Songs. It’s out of print, but you can still pick up used copies, and it is amazing. It has many of the more popular folk songs as well as some that are lesser known, at least in this country.

It was this book that made be realize that most folks songs aren’t rainbows and sunshine. They’re all fun to sing, and they’re all catchy, but a large number of them are somewhat…well…disturbing. And the funny thing is that the more disturbing they are, the more kids tend to love them. Here’s a case in point.

Widdecombe Fair

The song begins with what seems to be a not-too-unreasonable request from a group of friends to borrow Tom Pearce’s old grey mare. Apparently this group of people, comprised of Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney, Peter Davy, Daniel Whiddon, Harry Hawke, and Old Uncle Tom Cobley, need the mare so that they can go to Widdecombe for the fair. Tom Pearce is a bit concerned about lending his mare out and enquires when they will bring it back. They respond that it will be back by Friday at the earliest or noon on Saturday at the latest.

Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your grey mare.
All along, down along, out along lea.
For I want for to go to Widecombe Fair,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

And when shall I see again my grey mare?
All along, down along, out along lea.
By Friday soon, or Saturday noon,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

So they harnessed and bridled the old grey mare.
All along, down along, out along lea.
And off they drove to Widecombe fair,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

Okay, so far not terribly exciting material for a song (although the list of names is fun to sing). But soon we learn that something has gone terribly wrong!

Then Friday came, and Saturday noon.
All along, down along, out along lea.
But Tom Pearce's old mare hath not trotted home,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

Oh no, the untrustworthy fiends have no returned the mare to Tom Pearce by the agreed-upon time? What is Tom to do? Well he sets out to find his mare, but he doesn’t get far before he sees his mare, and she’s not in the best condition.

So Tom Pearce he got up to the top o' the hill.
All along, down along, out along lea.
And he seed his old mare down a-making her will,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

So Tom Pearce's old mare, her took sick and died.
All along, down along, out along lea.
And Tom he sat down on a stone, and he cried
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

So the old grey mare ends up dying, and we have good reason to suspect that Bill Brewer and co. are somehow responsible for mistreating the poor animal. So there you have it folks, what started as a simple jaunt down to the fair turns into a case of animal cruelty. Tom is left without a mare and I’m sure that he’s no longer friends with the ruffians who killed her. And so you see that folks songs can be quite disturbi… wait. What’s that? There’s more?

But this isn't the end o' this shocking affair.
All along, down along, out along lea.
Nor, though they be dead, of the horrid career
Of Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

Wait, this isn’t the end? We’re told the horrid career of Bill - Uncle Tom Cobley is not over even though they are now dead! So some time has passed and the group responsible for the mare’s death are also dead themselves. How can this not be the end of the song?

When the wind whistles cold on the moor of the night.
All along, down along, out along lea.
Tom Pearce's old mare doth appear ghastly white,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

Don't mind me children. Just an image from your favorite
folk song/nightmare.

And all the long night be heard skirling and groans.
All along, down along, out along lea.
From Tom Pearce's old mare in her rattling bones,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

If you thought your kids were
afraid of that Santa at the mall...
Wow, so a song that started as a goofy story about some people who borrowed and ill treated an old mare has turned into an all out zombie/ghost/horror tale. The skeletal mare now spends her nights on the moor galloping about and rattling her bones, while the unfortunate dead who killed her are condemned to run after her for all eternity. Sleep well tonight kids!

If you want to hear the song in its entirety, click here!

Who am I kidding, our kids love this song. But what sort of culture develops this kind of song, this rollicking happy tune with such a horrific ending? Well, first of all, some researchers believe that the list in the song refers to real people. What those people did to get memorialized in this song as animal abusers and zombies is anyone’s guess. Also, some have connected the mare in the story to the custom in western England of parading the “Grey Mare” or, as it is called in Wales, the Mari Lwyd.

You see, around the time of Epiphany  (Jan. 6) in Wales, there is an anicent custom that still continues in some places today of decorating a horse skull and following it from house to house asking for food. Since it happens near Christmastime, it’s sort of like wassailing…with a dead horse.

Nothing unusual here. No sir. Just move along.

The woman on the left is clearly this far from
screaming and jumping off the bridge.

11 June 2014

Commonplace Wednesday 3

From Religion and Theology by Herman Bavinck
To profess theology is to do holy work. It is a priestly ministration in the house of the Lord. It is itself a service of worship, a consecration of mind and heart to the honor of His name.

From Our Reasonable Faith by Herman Bavinck
 Among the heathen there is a great difference between the ways in which they react to the calling of nature. Socrates and Plato are not to be named in the same breath with Caligula and Nero.
 That many, called by the gospel, do not come and do not repent is not the fault of the gospel, nor of the Christ offered them in the gospel, nor of God who calls them by the gospel, and who Himself also grants many gifts to those when He calls. The fault, rather, lies in those who are called, of whom some, being indifferent, do not accept the word of life.
The moment we have eyes to see the richness of the spiritual life, we do away with the practice of judging others according to our puny measure. There are people who know of only one method, and who regard no one as having repented unless he can speak of the same spiritual experiences which they have had or claim to have had. But Scripture is much richer and broader than the narrowness of such confines.
The believer who is justified by Christ is the freest creature in the world. At least so it ought to be. 
Sin is not merely guilt, but also pollution; we are delivered from the first by justification, from the second by sanctification.
But this sanctification of the believers must then be properly understood. It must not become a legal sanctification, but is and must remain an evangelical sanctification.
It is by no means in justification only, but quite as much in sanctification, that by faith exclusively we are saved.
Christ in heaven and the Holy Spirit on earth are surety for the salvation of the elect, and seal this in the hearts of the believers.
With an eye to the glorious virtues which the apostles ascribe to the church, some observers have wanted to make a distinction between the empirical and the ideal church. But such a Western distinction is foreign to the New Testament.
These two parts of the church belong together. They are the vanguard and the rearguard of the great army of Christ. Those who have preceded now form round about us a great cloud of witnesses…
In that resurrection the unity of the person, both according to soul and body, is preserved.
The body is not a prison of the spirit, but belongs to the essence of man. That is why it is redeemed just a s well as the soul by Christ, the perfect Savior.

Our Reasonable Faith

If I were ever to teach a systematic theology class, I would use Our Reasonable Faith by Herman Bavinck to do it. A condensation of his massive, four-part Reformed Dogmatics, Our Reasonable Faith is a fantastic introduction to theology.


Opening the book with the simple statement, “God, and God alone, is man’s highest good,” Bavinck devotes the first eight chapters of his book to the knowledge of God. How does man come to know God? In what does that knowledge consist? He begins by talking about the nature and value of general revelation. I particularly appreciated his emphasis here, as many Reformed Christians today push the idea of antithesis so far that there is no value in general revelation whatever. As someone who teaches things like Homer, Euripides, Plato and Aristotle at a Christian school, I sometimes like to ask my students why we want to read all these pagan writers. The duly trained and dutiful Van Tillians among them respond with, “So we can show what’s wrong with them.” However, I believe, and Bavinck would agree, that there are beauties and truths to be found in the writings of the pagans that cannot be found elsewhere and are due to the common grace of general revelation, an idea which I think is needed as a corrective for a misapplied or excessive view of antithesis.

After discussing general revelation, Bavinck spends several chapters detailing the nature and value of special revelation culminating in Holy Scripture. He does a good job balancing the two forms of God’s revelation of Himself, and in fact if I had to pick one thing about this book that I liked so much it would be its balance in all things. Concerning the two forms of revelation, he writes, “When we have our attention fixed upon the richness of the grace which God has given in His special revelation, we sometimes become so enamored of it that the general revelation loses its whole significance and worth for us. And when, at another time, we reflect on the good, and true, and beautiful that is to be found by virtue of God’s general revelation in nature and in the human world, then it can happen that the special grace, manifested to us in the person and work of Christ, loses its glory and appeal for the eye of our soul.”

From this point, he moves on to what we might call “theology proper,” the being of God and the divine Trinity. He continues quite naturally to the doctrine of creation and God's divine providence over His creation. This leads in to a chapter on the creation of man, and man’s essence and purpose. He then deals with sin and death, and what they mean for mankind. He then discusses the covenant of grace that God made with mankind for the redemption of the world.

The latter half of the book proceeds from this point to detail how the salvation of the world is implemented and applied. He spends a few chapters on the person of Christ and his work. He moves on to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit brings us to share in the person of Christ. Finally, he talks about the people who share in the salvation which Christ has achieved, the new humanity, the Church. The book ends with a chapter on eternal life and the future of the world.


There were several things about this particular book that made it stand out as a good introduction to Christian theology. First of all, a book like this could easily be dry and academic. In Bavinck’s hands, it is anything but. In many places he demonstrates a poetic deftness in his prose that makes the book a joy to read. This is especially welcome as academic theologians are not necessarily known as brilliant stylists; try picking up a theological journal or modern academic commentary sometime. But above and beyond this is the fact that this book is devotional. Very early in the book Bavinck writes that, for ancient Israelites, “God was for them not at all a cold concept, which they then proceeded rationally to analyze, but He was a living, personal force, a reality infinitely more real than the world around them.” He goes on to emphasize this again and again throughout his book. “To profess theology is holy work,” he says. “And a theologian, a true theologian is one who speaks out of God, through God, about God, and does this always to the glorification of His name.” This fact, that the whole point of the theological endeavor is worship rather than to gain “an abstract concept of God, such as the philosopher gives us.”

Next this book is erudite but accessible. As Bavinck wrote his Reformed Dogmatics first, he had a huge amount of scholarship behind this shorter book. However, he manages to hit on science, philosophy, various strains of theology in the Christian world, and history in ways that, without dumbing down the content, are accessible to readers with no background in these areas of study. That is a pretty impressive feat. It struck me again and again reading this book that Bavinck was a very well-informed man. He wasn’t the sort of theology wonk who only reads theology books. He also wrote books on psychology, politics, science, women’s rights, family life, and a number of other subjects. Finally, throughout the book he is interacting with viewpoints other than his own. As a Reformed theologian that means that he is regularly speaking to Lutheranism, Roman Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy, explaining the sometimes fine nuances in their theological differences while defending his own view. This is particularly a joy for me because, unlike many Reformed writers, he is not polemical in his tone and charitably tries to state every position fairly. I found it fascinating, for instance, to see the traditional differences between Reformed, Catholic, and Lutheran theologians about the image of God and how it affects other parts of theology.

Finally, the book is supremely Biblical. Everything Bavinck teaches is copiously footnoted with Scripture for further reading and support. I understand that in writing Our Reasonable Faith, he did this on purpose. He cut down on the academic footnotes in Reformed Dogmatics and supplemented with Scripture proofs, once again to make it accessible for the average reader. Consequently this is not a book that will be used for frequent reference purposes. For that you may want to get something more traditionally and rigidly organized with a huge index like Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology. However, as an introduction to theology and a Christian worldview, I have never read a book as perfectly suited to the task as Our Reasonable Faith. It was fully worth all the time I took to read it, highlight it, mark in it, and copy out passages from it.

5 out of 5 stars

10 June 2014

C.S. Lewis on Adults Reading YA

Ruth Graham over at Slate wrote an article about why Adults should be embarrassed to read books written for Children. C.S. Lewis responds:

“Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
--From "On Three Ways of Writing for Children" by C.S. Lewis