Just over a hundred years ago, the poet WH Davies wrote about the fact that we miss out in life if we miss out time to stop and look. His most famous poem begins:

‘What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.’

This summer, the current Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child, is promoting something very similar, except she is calling, not so much for staring at interesting things in nature, but finding time to daydream and stare out of the window.

I’m a fan of Lauren Child. Of course this is entirely through my children’s interest (honestly!) I learnt to appreciate ‘Clarice Bean’ and particularly ‘Charlie and Lola’ with the accompanying children’s TV series.

This point she is promoting makes good sense. So much of children’s lives are filled with targets, tests and standards to meet or else IT devices to distract (all of which have their place) and there is little space to stand and stare or to stop and gaze.

Lauren Child’s belief is that, in gazing we give space for children to use their imagination and to exercise their creativity.

I wonder if, this summertime, there is a lesson and application for adults as well as children?

The pressure of busyness and the need to complete the next thing on our to-do list, can so easily rob any of us of the time to stop and stare – the time to observe, to reflect, to think and explore our creativity.

This interests me as church minister for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I believe our natural creativity comes from a particular source. My faith tells me our creativity points back to a creative God.

Secondly, I have found that faith grows when I find time to think and reflect and yet many other things compete for that time.

Part of the aim of regular Sunday Worship services is to build in time to consider things greater than the next task in our diaries or our to-do lists, but it is more than a Sunday thing.

In stopping, staring and appreciating, there is so often space to personally give thanks to and connect with God.

This summertime or anytime, let’s take time.


Ken Benjamin

Ken is married to Sue, and they have two children, their daughter Zoe and son, Alex. He is the current Vice President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, and will assume the Presidency from May 2019. Ken's key themes are whole life discipleship and missional communities.