Wonder & Enthusiasm of Childhood

“Society is giving more and more entertainment to children that is adult planned …
it actually robs them of what childhood means.
That is spoiling them. I always thought letting children be children
to mean ‘preserving their innocence, wonder and enthusiasm’.
Yet today, we begin when they are babies to dull that fresh eagerness with passive, adult-contrived entertainment. I thought it meant encouraging and channeling their fertile imaginations,
but how soon we stamp them out and replace them with the vain imaginings of someone else
who is highly paid to do so.

Letting a child be a child, I thought, meant being a good steward of his dependancy,
using that opportunity to teach, train, work side by side with him.

Today, don’t you think we’ve thrown out God’s plan for a parent-child apprenticeship experience which blends the best of what it is to be a parent with what it means to be a child?
And in it’s place, [this has] left our children with a variety of high-tech babysitters that are experts on how to wrap packages of things children need but they don’t put anything worthwhile in the box…”
– Valerie Shepherd, daughter of Elisabeth Elliot




The morning homeschool-large-family rush had died down and there was a tiny moment of  blissful quiet between lunch cleanup and regular nap-times. My toddler scraped out her little chair from the table and climbed up with a big book to read.

I stood at the old hoosier, my designated baking centre, ready to tackle the next thing on the mommy list. With a growing pile of over-ripe bananas beckoning me from the fruit basket, it was decided that a banana cake would be the dessert of choice for the night.

Pulling out a large mixing bowl, I gathered the supplies for a banana cake – one of my personal favorites and one my mother makes so well! This delicious cake is so well loved that my mother has even made it for my many birthdays in the past. [If you love banana cake, try out the recipe below!]

I cracked the lovely brown eggs and dropped them into the cake batter. Mixing away, I listened to my three year old chattering away like a little lark. She was describing the pictures she was enjoying in her Richard Scary book, splayed out on the kitchen table. Boy, she does love to chitter chatter,  I thought …


“Look at the pickle car, mommeee,” she exclaimed, giggling with delight at the goofy drawing of a silly green pickle automobile. [How we love Richard Scary! If you don’t have these books for your little ones, may I suggest you add them to your library today!]

My mixer continued to whir gently as the cake slowly formed into proper, delicious cake batter. I walked over and looked at the silly car, resembling a pickle … indeed, it was our favorite vehicle on this page.


It was not long before Lavender’s little brother toddled up to the kitchen table, intrigued and full of wonder. Richard Scary’s book are one of his favorites to ‘read’, as well. He quickly climbed up on the long empty bench and joined in the fun of pointing at his favorite vehicles, his two year old fingers ready to point to the pictures.

Into the bowl went the mashed-up bananas …  then I buttered the baking dish to prepare for the batter. I watched the two little ones with quiet contentment.



“Ta …!” Lazarus pointed to a bright yellow car on the next page.

Together, the brother-sister duo sat, side by side, staring and examining the drawn images of various vehicles on the page. They turned the pages slowly and eyed up the drawings.

I poured the now-finished batter into the buttered pan and wiped off the counters, placing the dirty mixing bowl into the sink.

“May I read, too?”

This time, it was my five year old Leia, ready to join the reading fun.  She pulled up a chair, and directed the viewers to find the little bug creature that was featured on every page. Their little fingers touched the pages, pointing out which cars and trucks were the most fascinating.
The three of them sat, side by side, sharing the large colorful book.

I popped the ready cake into the warm cookstove oven and slipped my apron off over my neck. Grabbing my teacup, I poured myself a cuppa tea and sat down to watch the fun little trio, engrossed in their childhood world of their delightful book.

…  and I thanked God, quietly in my heart, for these precious children. As I sipped my tea, I realized the decision to keep them home with me stems from a generational decision of my parents’ decision to go against mainstream parenting, keeping us home for a few years and then enrolling us in a very small modest Christian school. We were not turned out to the world, but kept in close contact with our parents, a few good families and a good Christian church family. I never felt like my childhood was limited in a negative way or that I “missed out”. My childhood was full of relaxed play, romping through fields, exploring and listening to nature, music lessons, quiet moments of reading and dreaming and very little rushing about to daily events. We did not have a lot of toys, but what we did have we enjoyed. We always rode bikes and played “house”. It was a modest lifestyle in many ways.


Now, looking at the faces of my own children around the kitchen table, I appreciate that set apart parenting ever so much more. The lovely smell of the banana cake, baking away in the oven, filled the kitchen as the children continued to read their book with joy … perhaps, one day, these children will see the value in not being mainstream … in avoiding the screen-saturated society … in not rushing to events every day but keeping the home life will with natural adventures … one day, Lord willing, these little ones will grow to see the value in a simple childhood … one filled with Richard Scary books and homemade banana cake.


“I really believe children are more contended with fewer toys than they are with more toys.
Over the years, we have gotten rid of more and more things.
Seeing that the younger children (under age five) play perfectly happy with very, very few things …
[we realize] they play quite content using their imaginations…”

-Valerie Shepherd


A personal sidenote: much of my parenting decisions are influenced by how my parents chose to raise my sister, brother and I. I am constantly amazed at how the values they taught have stayed ingrained in my daily happenings and decisions. For instance,  my parents stood against culture and decided to toss entertainment of the day (television) when I was about five years old. My parents’ decision to monitor and nearly eliminate the trendy popular screen time for their family definitely influenced our decision, now, as parents, to do the same. Although in this generation, t.v. is more accessible and not just a machine set up in the living room to watch (although, in many cases, this is still the situation in family living rooms).  Instead, ‘easy babysitters’ come in so many more varying forms of digital screens. It can certainly be a very real battle for parents to hold their ground and not succumb to the digital entertainment world.


“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
– Mark Twain

I have found, even if we limit the such entertainment inside our home, everywhere we go, there are still screens. Ipads, iphones, even moving vehicles are screen infused. It is a challenge to avoid them or at least limit them.

Instead of screen time, we’ve been investing in books and books and more books. Our home library is being built weekly. I love to scan the shelves and find something new to read to the children or have the children read. I am constantly amazed at how much a child can learn if they have the proper books laid out for them. Every afternoon, I implement a quiet hour where every child is to go alone and read some books. If they can’t read, they look at pictures. There are books on missionaries, science, adventures, historical fiction and, of course, just plain cute Richard Scary books.







Banana Cake Recipe
(It makes a great for a snack while reading):

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups milkPreheat your oven to 275 degrees F. 
    Mix flour, baking soda and salt together in your mixing bowl.
    In a separate bowl (cream your butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla and milk. Finally, add your mashed bananas.
    Mix with flour mixture.
    Bake for approximately one hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting recipe:

1/4-1/2 cup of butter, whipped in your mixer.
Add in roughly 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar … taste it as it mixes up.
If you want it to be sweeter, add some more sugar. I also add a little (tiny!) but of cream cheese to give the icing a bit of a kick. I am not a huge fan of cream cheese icing so I only add a bit.
Add as much as you wish.
Taste as you go to decide on your final icing results.
You may also choose to add a dash of vanilla. 
Frost cake, of course, when it is cooled.


March 12, 2018 - 3:16 pm

Brenda (Gigi’s Mom) PS I just made the banana cake last week. It was devoured! And I also made one to give away to a neighbour. xo

March 12, 2018 - 3:16 pm

Brenda (Gigi’s Mom) Aww, this made me cry. xo

March 12, 2018 - 5:19 am

Gigi Hello Katie. Thank you for your comment. The older girls do their Math and French lessons online – so that, I suppose, counts as screen time. They don’t really do anything “fun” (as in games, surfing, browsing) online. We often learn a new hymn from you tube until we can sing it alone. We watch a family movie maybe once a week in the fall / winter months (we rarely watch anything in the spring/summer as we are outside and enjoying the real world!)- or if daddy is working late, I decided this winter that it would be the night the girls can choose a movie to watch. We are currently watching the Road to Avonlea series together. In the past, it has been Little House on the Prairie (a favorite!). Our movies are generally outdated or older 🙂 but we do love the old movies. We literally have to set the t.v./DVD player up each time so it deters us from watching too often.

March 12, 2018 - 3:29 am

Katie Very encouraging, thankyou 🙂 Also curious if you have any type of screen time in your home and what does that look like? Or none at all?

March 10, 2018 - 6:44 am

Gigi Caitlin, that’s such a great idea! Eye spy, using these books, is something we do, as well. They are great books for such a game – so many colorful, fun scenes to look at.

March 9, 2018 - 11:50 pm

Caitlin I love these snapshots of your cozy home! We are big Richard Scarry fans here also. I’ve actually found them a huge help to avoiding screens. I always keep a few in the car to look at in the waiting room at the dr, any appointments, and I always bring them on plane rides (where EVERYONE just sets a screen in front of their child.) It’s a huge help to keep children occupied. We even play “I spy with my little eye” using them and the children love it!

March 9, 2018 - 10:53 am

Gigi I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it!

March 9, 2018 - 8:29 am

Our Home of Many Blessings That banana cake was simply wonderful!!!Thanks for sharing!

March 8, 2018 - 1:45 pm

sue oops, meant to say “minority”

March 8, 2018 - 1:43 pm

sue Thank you Gigi for the banana cake recipe and also for the idea(on a previous post) for making and freezing pie dough. We prefer pies but the dough tends to be messy. It will be great to have it on hand! (And your pies look amazing:)
I love the quote you shared from Mark Twain. Most times I find myself in the “majority” with my values but His words are perfect for me today!

March 8, 2018 - 10:06 am

Gigi Bobbie, sorry, I should have mentioned about the bananas. I think there were about five bananas.
Yes, older books are mostly our favorites, as well.

March 8, 2018 - 9:27 am

Our Home of Many Blessings We have a few of those Scarey books.I remember having those when I was a little girl also.Is’nt a child’s little mind simply amazing,and the things that grab their attention!I’v been building our library throughout the years and love it so.I search for older books constantly and get all giddy when I find them!Scarey being one of those.
…..I love simple times like you described in your kitchen.I will definitely be trying that cake recipe today,thanks so much for sharing!How many bananas do you put in yours?I love it when you share your recipes,and we’ve enjoyed every one of them!