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Teaching your children (and yourself) to embrace life

I love this video!

It was going viral on Friday and I absolutely needed to share it with you.

Why? Because it’s an example of wonderful responsive loving parenting,

And an example of joyously embracing life with your child.

I was so inspired by this video that I wrote my blog about it this week… watch it now and keep reading!

Now this father could have said…

“Oh no, you’re already a little wet. That’s enough,”
“We better get your raincoat,”
“You’ll get chilled,”
“You’ll get your nice outfit all wet.”

He also might have thought…

“The neighbours will think I’m a bad parent letting my little girl get all wet. I’ll watch the rain with her, keep her dry and we’ll just talk about it”

But he didn’t – he just followed his toddler’s lead.

What did you think when you watched it?

Did you think…

“Wow, that’s just what I would do”

or did you think…

“I’d be too self-conscious to do that,”
“I wouldn’t want my little girl to get all wet,”
“My partner, mother, father etc. would really come down on me if I did that.”

Think about the choice the father made to step out into the rain.

He could have gone in either direction. He chose to go with his daughter’s sense of wonder and delight and embrace the moment – embrace life.

Did you see how the daughter felt as she experienced the rain? She was exuberant!

Seeing her smile and wonder at the rain reminds me of the wonderful poem written by one of my favourite poets, William Blake:

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand, And a Heaven in a Wild Flower…”

Did you read that poem when you were in High School?

I did and I loved it.

At that point in my life I saw “the world” in a cute guy, “heaven” was getting invited to a party by a “popular” kid, or getting “A’s” in my classes,

I distinctly remember it hitting my teenage brain and how that wonderful poem got me thinking…

“Yes, I think that’s how I used to be when I was so little. Everything was so wondrous and exciting. How did things get so serious…. What happened to me?”

Well, lots of stuff.

Mostly just growing up and being a teenager (and all that that means),
living in a time of great social change.
I was taught at home and in school that it was most important to be serious, hard working and objective.
That I could “stop and smell the roses” after I’ve gotten the serious things taken care of.

And for goodness sake, don’t go out in the rain without an umbrella.

As a young teen, I was taught lots about embracing responsibility and not so much about embracing life.

That William Blake poem had a different message.

It was about seeing the wonder all around me. And I wanted to get back to that.

And I did.

I changed my perspective when I started working with young children.

I had had very little experience with children at the time and knew little about them. But once I started spending time with them, something really clicked for me.

I realized that young children live in a state of perpetual wonder. The world is a magnificent, magical place for them.

They want to know it all, explore it all, touch it all, open drawers, pull things off shelves, see how the mud feels, dig in the dirt and yes – walk in the rain.

Just as that father had a choice point with his little girl and the rain, I had a choice point as a young teacher. I could stay in my serious adult brain, OR, I could reconnect with my sense of wonder, and see the world through their eyes.

That’s what I chose.
And it was so much fun.

From that point on, I have built my life around spending time with babies and young children, (including my own two) because, to me, they are the greatest wonder of all!

When you become a parent, you are presented with this amazing opportunity to reconnect with your own (probably buried) sense of wonder.

You can put aside your serious adult world view. See things through your child’s eyes, and see things anew. “See a world in a grain of sand,” just like they do.

How do you do that? Here are some ideas.

  • Slow down. When you hurry through the day, you miss so much of what is around you
  • Turn off your phone for a while when you’re with your kids. This will allow you to give them your full attention.
  • Go outdoors in nature together. Look at everything all around you, point out all the things to look at and talk about them with your kids. Do lots of touching, looking, feeling, smelling. Nature is amazing!
  • If you live in town, walk down the block and stop to look at everything along the way. There is so much to see. If you walk at a two-year old’s pace, looking at everything, it could take you half an hour to go the one block.
  • When you child calls to you to “come see!”, really look, not just say “very nice” and go back to whatever you were doing. They want to share their wonder and excitement with you. Take the time to appreciate it.
  • And of course, go walking in the rain.

Taking the time to be present with your child will awaken your sense of wonder. It’s not only a gift to your child, it’s a real gift to you.

Wishing you a truly wonder-full time with your children.

(Watch this one more time, just for the fun of it!)

Judy Banfield

I’m Judy Banfield and I’m here to help you feel better about yourself as a person and more confident and secure as a parent.

In my 30+ years of working with babies, young children and parents, I have learned that valuing and treasuring and deeply knowing yourself gives you the foundation to more confidently and joyfully, love, treasure, teach and guide your children.

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