A few weeks ago, one of the teachers at our preschool asked me to answer the following question:
What do you know of and/or recognize in your child today that you hope will always remain or be true?
The answers were written on the back of our child’s photo and hung inside clear ornaments.
What a great question!
Sometimes, through all the runny noses and temper tantrums, it is hard to pause and recognize that our littlest people have intrinsic positive qualities. Taking the time to observe these qualities can provide important lessons for adults about life and happiness. (It’s also probably good for your parent-child relationship).
My answer came to me very quickly. More than anything, I want my child to continue to be passionately curious and always find joy in discovering new things about the world. (Yes, I know, a little predictable coming from me.)
Humans are born curious. Small children thrive on new information. As a species, our natural curiosity has led us to do incredible things (granted, some of this was destructive, but we have certainly learned a great deal about the world). But, somewhere along the way, many adults forget about the happiness that naturally comes from engaging with the world with curiosity.
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” ― Albert Einstein
Do you remember how fascinating it was to watch a snail inching up the side of a plant? Do you remember the pure joy in the feeling of jumping in a pile of leaves or finding the absolutely perfect seashell on the beach? Do you remember wondering why the sky is blue, or peeling the bark from a birch tree? At some point, did you stop asking questions? Did you stop engaging with the world? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe more than you’d like to admit?
Sometimes, my son’s two tiny little hands will grab my face and point it in the direction of something I should be watching. I have to admit, he is usually right. If you can deal with the runny noses and temper tantrums, a little time with 3 year olds is a wonderful lesson in mindful living.
Thank you little one, for reminding me what is important. Thank you for helping me to step away from my electronic devices, and my obsessions with the past and the future. Thank you for encouraging me to engage in the present with happy curiosity. Thank you for being my inspiration.
Please don’t lose this quality.
Here is one of my favourite book passages of all time:
“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
― T.H. White, The Once and Future King