These children of mine amaze me,. At their core, they are explorers making fantastic discoveries, scientists, forever pushing for deeper understanding, negotiators, testing and retesting their place in the world, and writers, creating a magical world where they can disappear for hours at a time. While they approach the world in their own unique ways, they are all active participants. No matter how much I engage in my day to day life, that engagement is always something I must consciously strive for. How often am I playing, or crafting, or reading with my mind on dinner or the next task that needs doing. To some extent, this multitasking is necessary (I mean we have to eat), but finding that fully engaged flow during the day adds a richness to my life. For the little ones I share my days with, this engagement comes naturally. Taking the time to see the world through their eyes, to let them teach me, brings me closer to that flow, that engagement.
Even while I'm aware of this gift of childhood, how many times have I stood on the edge of their world, ready with a word or a gesture to stop them, redirect them, break their train of thoughts. Pushing limits, whether physically or emotionally is part of childhood (and adulthood), yet we as adults so often stop that process. We worry that they will get hurt, or dirty, or break something, or simply fail. We see them putting the eyes of their drawing in the wrong spot, or building a tower with that we know will tip, or trying to jump across an impossibly wide puddle, and we can't help ourselves, we fix it, we show them the better way, we teach them the solution. But as active participants, these little ones of mine thrive in the process, and the messy end products are just as beautiful to them as the most famous works of art.
With this in mind, today I am renewing a commitment to my children.
I will think before I stop you.
I will keep you safe, but not too safe.
I will remember that when you're doing something that annoys me that it is my issue and not yours.
I will insist you clean up your mess, but I will let you make a mess.
I will let you fall and pick yourself upI will let you eat dirt
I will let you draw people with no bodies and lots of long arms
I will hear what you have to teach me
I will let you plant a seed and dig it up again
I will let you dream
I will listen to your stories even when they make no senseI will let you fail
And all I ask of you is to share these days, the moments of success and the moments of failure.