By Amie Littrell
Childhood is magical. A child experiences something brand new for the first time every day, every week, or every month – slides, airplanes, cake, bonfire, snow, giraffe, starry sky, roller coasters, losing teeth – life is so exciting! The newness and excitement of life that children carry around with them can be incredibly contagious – but it can also be ignored.
When was the last time you looked in awe-filled wonder at the sky? Or tried a new ice-cream flavor? Or noticed someone’s laughter that was unique – a laughing style you’d never heard before! As adults, many of us get so busy with our worries, our work, our responsibilities, and our images that we quit noticing things all around us. Day after day of this kind of lifestyle leaves many of us drained of wonder, imagination, excitement, yes, and even joy.
Most parents think often about what they want to teach their children. Jesus told his disciples, “I assure you that if you don’t turn your lives around and become like this little child, you will definitely not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3, CEB) Today, think for a moment about what you can learn from your children. Get off your phone and notice your children. Truly notice them. Watch the ways in which they play and interact with their world. Share their sense of wonder. Don’t get too busy taking care of business that you forget to enjoy your children! Listen to what they say. Play with them while you still can! Let time stand still and don’t be in a rush. Soak in the moments together as they come.
Dr. Edward M. Hallowell says that simply enjoying children is one of the best pieces of parenting advice that he has. “Let [children] activate those parts of you that had already started to go dead before they were born and let those parts of you energize your work, your friendships, your spiritual life, every part of your life that there is.” (Edward M. Hallowell, The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, Random House Publishing Group, 2002.) So take a break today and have some fun. Let your child help you to rediscover the small joys of life.