Blink—And They're Grown

Parents, Families and Child Care

The Spirit of a Child

This week I had a great coaching experience with several leaders from the community. The session focused on each leader gaining clarity on her work in the world – the purpose that each one of them is called to fulfill through her work and interactions both at home and within the community. What I witnessed during this event was an excitement from each leader as she gained this perspective. For each of the leaders it seemed that this activity re-awakened an earlier belief that over the years had been lost. Each leader reconnected to the part of herself that had been buried under roles, rules and expectations. The distraction of needing to do things right or meet the needs of others had become the priority.

Focus on what brings you joy.

Young children are far less worried about doing things right or meeting the needs of others. They tend to approach the world in ways that meet their immediate needs and are not concerned about how others judge them. They are fearless when expressing their full range of feelings. Young children tend to take on challenges with zeal and wonder; they are accepting of differences and make sure to find time to be happy.

As adults we often reconnect with the child we once were by spending time with young children. By playing with children we become playful. When we interact with children we do not worry about what they will think of us. We know the child will enjoy the time spent together. We become captivated by their willingness to explore the world and find ourselves wanting to do the same. It is at these times when we find ourselves lamenting, “Oh, to be young again!”

And so why not be? The interaction I had with the leaders this week clearly demonstrated that it is easy to lose focus of what it truly important. The business of doing it right becomes the priority. In the meantime allowing time to play or enjoy the moment is cast aside. And it seems to me that as parents it is critical that we support the spirit of the child, meaning that we appreciate the spirit of the child that exists in each of us while also valuing our child’s own spirit. My guess is, if we do this, we will focus our energy on what brings us joy. And, we will pay more attention to who are children are versus focusing all of our energy on what they do.

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