I indicated in a previous Wellness Wednesday that Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is one of my favorite books. The story is essentially captured in the title. Holden Caulfield, the main character, is standing at the bottom of a cliff above which children are playing in a rye field. The children in the field represent innocence. Holden wants to catch them from falling over the cliff into adulthood where they would experience phoniness and artificiality.

This reminds me of the natural way we connect to innocence. People who see a baby are drawn to and want to hold the child.

Consider this photograph of Tom’s grandsons. What do you experience when you look at this picture?

And what do you feel when you watch this short one-minute video?

I think Holden’s right. We lose our innocence, but it can transform into an adult version known as authenticity. Authentic means being genuine and sincere.

Just like feeling a connection with the little girl who bought her lipstick at Home Depot, we experience a natural connection to adults who are being authentic. This reminds me of my college basketball coach, Jim Smith.

No one would have described Coach Smith as innocent, but all of his players and even opposing coaches would describe him as authentic—genuine and sincere.

Innocence in childhood and authenticity in adulthood are qualities that draw others near and form connections. As you go through the following week, be mindful of what occurs when you experience innocence of authenticity versus when you experience someone who is phony or artificial.

From our team…Willow, Kevin, and Tom…who are standing below the cliff.

Paul Bernabei, Director
Top 20 Training