A child, unbridled in their most honest and pure temperament is simply put, a masterpiece. My father had a wonderful way of sitting and chatting with a child that would astound anyone. A fun, engaging way of meeting the child, no matter the age, right where they were. He was present, listening, sharing, watching- or not- sometimes, watching slyly to gauge a more shy child- he was brilliant. He was that way with pretty much everyone really…young or old. He has been gone now for 10 years sadly. I miss him each day. I do know that much of what I witnessed in him when it came to children and his affording them the opportunity to open up- is pretty much how I approach children. I am glad for that. I am no angel, by any means and I have my frustrated moments. I at least have the presence now, as an older human being, to catch myself when I do get impatient and get back on the track of being present, listening, watching and sharing.
Here’s why I share this today. As I go about my day to day, at work, out in the community, at home, at the park or pool, I notice very few parents are present, listening, sharing and watching. I see parents in a land far away- primarily in their phones. Certainly not present, listening, sharing or watching their children. That compounded with the fact that everyone has a mask on right now due to COVID and I can only imagine the impact on the children that are experiencing the world right now. Speaking primarily of those children that are under the age of 7- the most formative years.
Imagine, silently possessing a genius- a brilliant genius that is harbored in a soul that is looking to you, the parent, the grandparent, the teacher, the community member to come alongside them to allow that genius to shine. That is the opportunity and privilege that each of us have with each and every child we encounter. And the most important thing to note is that we only have one shot at it. There is only ONE period of time that they are this young. Even before they speak- there is brilliance. Before they walk, crawl or eat solid food, there is brilliance. They just want and need us to be present, listen, share and watch. Here is the most amazing thing about staying present around our children- they in turn remind us, that deep down- we too possess brilliant genius. Mask or no mask- the power of looking in a child’s eyes and even humming a verse of Twinkle, Twinkle will bring a connection that is more powerful than ANYTHING in the world. And that is what we need more of right now. Take the time when our children are young to be present, share, listen and watch- and they will not only teach us of our own brilliance, they will continue to do the same for others throughout their lives. What a gift to humanity.
Stay present, listen, watch and share….it really is that important.