“A child, more than all other gifts
That earth can offer to declining man,
Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts.”
Dakota turns three tomorrow. I can’t believe that it’s been three years already! Becoming a father has been a truly wonderful experience – probably the best I have ever had. I have gained in so many ways that I can’t even begin to explain (how can mere words convey the joy you feel in having a new best-friend, who lives with you and does all these fun things with you and still doesn’t get on your wife’s nerves?).
Hanging out with a two year-old has its advantages: you get to have way more fun than before; you get to meet other interesting two year-olds and immerse yourself in a world of laughter, colour and beauty. You also get to learn a thing or two – sometimes, about life and about yourself. By the way, whoever said you couldn’t teach an old dog new tricks has obviously not met Dakota! Anyway, in today’s post, I’d like to share just a few of the things that my Angel has taught me.
Live in the Present
Life happens in the now. Now is the only point of time that we have some control over. What we do now will determine the course of our lives. Now is our opportunity to have fun and enjoy life. It is all about now.
Children know this. Children live for the moment. They live in the moment. We slowly change this when we promise them treats for tomorrow or remind them of why they hurt themselves yesterday. But by and large, their thoughts are firmly centred around what is happening before their eyes. Now.
We adults have a bit more to contend with at times. We have made life a very complicated affair with things like money and rules – things that no one really understands or wants (actually, we didn’t make it so, we just went along with it). So we must plan and make lists and remember to do ‘important’ things. But are we too busy doing the admin and the paperwork around life that we actually forget about living? I don’t think this is too far fetched to be honest. We’re always hearing how the police have too much paperwork to walk the beat and how teachers are struggling with targets and paperwork to the extent that it gets in the way of their teaching. Could we seriously imagine that you and I are somehow immune to this madness?
Maybe its time to start paying more attention to being more present. Maybe its time to work towards finding more balance in our lives. Who knows? We might even end up ditching some of the things that make our lives so darn complex!
Savour the Journey
I know my baby is growing up and will be independent woman one day. I find comfort in the thought that one day, she will be in control of her life and able to decide what’s best for herself. I am indeed grateful for this knowledge. Yet, I am in no hurry for that day to arrive. I love taking care of my daughter and being such a huge part of her day to day life. I am truly savouring the journey and enjoying the experience.
This realisation has me looking at some of the other things in my life in the same way. For example, when it comes to writing, I dream of touching the lives of many people some day. Yet, now I understand that I mustn’t forget to enjoy where I am, as much as I look forward to where I’m going. Indeed, that seems the surest way to getting there!
Stuff Happens. Move On
Yes, sometimes things go the way we want and yes, people are nice a lot of the time. When this changes, we would do well to remember that it is only a temporary thing. We would also benefit from not letting that spoil our chances of enjoying some other, pleasant experience, soon after.
When Dakota is upset, she doesn’t hide it. She lets us know – in no uncertain terms ( I strongly suspect that the entire neighbourhood knows when this happens). Yet, she spends very little time being upset – a couple of minutes at most. It’s almost as if she thinks “Ok… that didn’t feel nice… what can I do next that would feel nice? Next!”.
We can have the experience. Learn what it offers to teach us and then move on…. to happier and nicer things. My nearly three year-old doesn’t carry much in the way of mental baggage and she doesn’t really bear grudges. The rewards she reaps as a result are more than evident!
Life is Supposed to be Fun!
This to me has been the biggest and most important lesson. Since when the hell did it become a requirement to being an adult that we had to be miserable? Look around and you’d be easily forgiven for thinking that there was an Act of Parliament or something in the Gazette to say that ‘Henceforth, all those of adult age will act all serious and be miserable’.
It seems that we have allowed a bunch of killjoys run the world and that most people have bought into their lies. We all suffer as a result. I’d much rather live in the world of children where a smile is always returned and not a day goes by without hearing heartfelt laughter. It’s our lives people! We freakin get to decide how we live them – not the killjoys. Don’t ever forget that! Have fun. Every day. It is your God-given right.
Zero Resistance Living
Granted they get a bit of help with their material wants, but isn’t it amazing how children seem to zoom through life? It seems like nothing is a problem and they float effortlessly through life like butterflies, where as we go about it like a Landrover motoring up a muddy cliff in the middle of a thunderstorm.
What is holding us back (that isn’t holding them back)? Based on what I have observed, I can think of a few things:
- The Resistance (this I feel is the ‘biggie’) – the mental garbage like fear, regret, worry, anger, resentment. We’re carrying it all with us, all the time. It weighs a ton and it weighs us down.
- A lack of sleep or rest – kids get plenty of rest and downtime. They sleep whenever they want to and for as long as their bodies need it. Plus, Dakota has an afternoon nap everyday! The few times I have actually slept early or enjoyed a siesta, I have felt amazing afterwards. I know there is something to getting enough rest. I understand that it helps our performance (not to mention our moods).
- A lack of exercise – with most children, while awake, their bodies are continuously in motion. With adults, they seem to be sitting down most of the time. Children have more energy and are more supple and agile and most adults aren’t like this. I think there is definitely a lesson in there.
- A lack of joy – children have fun. Everyday. No exceptions. We need to get onboard ASAP. Maybe the government should launch a ‘fun’ initiative. A sort of ‘no adult left behind’ program. I can’t help but think that it would change the world overnight if every country did this. Please bear in mind that we are now beginning to recognise the link between our state of mind (inner) and our physical wellbeing (outer) and that a lot of diseases have stress as their root cause. Go have some fun. Now.
So there you have it! I’ve said my piece. Even if you may not agree with everything I have said, I’m sure you’ll agree that we can all benefit from looking at life through the eyes of a child. I’m off to go have some fun now!