Lessons on Being in the Here and Now Often Come From Our Kids

Young black family having fun at home

“Just take her shoes off and pop her up here.” The attendant patted the bench. I lifted my little girl from her pram and set her down. The attendant picked up her foot and placed it carefully in the gauge, intent on what she was doing.

“Hel-lo,” came a small, high voice.

The attendant looked up, shocked, then smiled back. “Oh I’m so sorry! Hello!”

Then she looked guiltily at me.

She hadn’t thought to speak to my daughter, hadn’t even made eye contact with her. It’s understandable. She and I were focused on what she was doing and there were other customers for her to help. However, we’d both forgotten our manners, forgotten to include this small but whole important person (who is waking up to a whole new world of interaction and social complexities) in the process.

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Maria Montessori said, “Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”

I love the respect part, but I’d suggest it’s not just innocence or the possibility of what they might be that we should value. They’re also better at the “here and now” than we are. And they have plenty to teach us.

Children are a work in progress, but so are we

As adults, we don’t have access to their world anymore. There’s no going back. While we’re growing up, we focus on what we want to gain: our independence, our experience, our ability to articulate our thoughts and feelings. Once we’re there, we become nostalgic for childhood, but we don’t always appreciate the value of learning from childhood a second time around. We yearn to go back when we should be learning what we can to carry on moving forward.

It’s easy to cast ourselves as teachers, with our kids as the students, so it’s pretty humbling to realize that it’s a dialogue. They’re teaching us too, and my daughter teaches me things other adults can’t.

Whatever she’s doing, she’s fully present

When she plays, she’s engrossed in…

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