October 3     

Today's quotation:

Children have a remarkable talent for not taking the adult world with the kind of respect that we are so confident it ought to be given. To the irritation of authority figures of all sorts, children expend considerable energy in “clowning around.”  They refuse to appreciate the gravity of our monumental concerns, while we forget that if we were to become more like children our concerns might not be so monumental.

Conrad Hyers

Today's Meditation:

I definitely want to be like children in this way.  So many things that other people find to be of the greatest importance don't affect me in the slightest-- who won yesterday's game, which television show was cancelled, what kind of clothes a person is wearing, whether someone's shirt is tucked in or not.  And when we push our kids to take such things as extremely important, we're also giving them the gift of our personal biases, which very often they're going to adopt as their own.

I think most of us adults can take a great lesson from kids in this way.  Some of the things that we find to be incredibly important really aren't, and we sacrifice much of our lives trying to fulfill "important" responsibilities that would have almost no effect at all on us or anyone else if we didn't fulfill them, or if we did them a couple of hours-- or a couple of days-- later.  Yes, we have responsibilities to live up to, and it's important to do so, but not everything that we see as important really is so.

Are we allowing the urgent to crowd out the important?  The most important thing we might do today is take an hour-long walk by a lake or river.  But we got that text message from someone, and now we need to deal with her or his issues.  Or we absolutely must clean out the whole garage today, and the walk that would help us to clear our minds and calm ourselves down has to be put off-- possible until never.  And our social responsibilities completely paralyze some people-- someone's coming over this evening, so I can't do anything fun today because I have to clean the house.

We can always learn a lot from the children in our lives.  They look at things with a different perspective than we do, a perspective that we used to love when we were their age, but which we now don't love anymore because we've cast it aside for the adult things which don't always live up to what they're supposed to be.  Perhaps today would be a good day to set aside an hour or so to go exploring, or to draw for an hour or two without a care about how good the drawings are.  We can rekindle our sense of wonder, and perhaps even share it with some young person whom we know.  Then we'd both benefit.

Questions to consider:

What are some things that you see as much more important now than you used to see them when you were a kid?

Why do we think that so-called "adult" things are so much more important than "kid" things?

What would it hurt if one were to set aside a couple of hours a week to see the world through a kid's eyes?

For further thought:

If children are to keep alive their inborn sense of wonder, they need the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with them the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.

Rachel Carson

more thoughts and ideas on children



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