Each week on a Tuesday evening, I take to Twitter to be part of a conversation all about the early years and what is on offer for young children. This week, someone posed an interesting question: 'What do you think we can learn from young children?' This got me thinking about what I think we can take from our children.
Living in the moment
It was interesting to see that everyone who responded seemed to come up with a very similar answer. One spoke about living in the moment. Watching the toddlers playing at our Story Sense classes, they do just that. They get involved in everything with very little worry about what others think. Sometimes they are nervous in a new place or when new people are around, but generally, once settled, they are content playing in their own safe and exciting little worlds. In the media today, there is so much about the way we look or the way we do things and then you look at toddlers and think they don't worry about any of that. They will be play with other children no matter what they look like. So why do we as adults set such a precedent for ourselves to try and be what we aren't. We can definitely learn more from our babies and toddlers about living in the moment; if life is good...it's good!
Appreciate the little things
Life moves fast. People move fast. Days disappear in the blink of an eye and you are left lying in bed wondering what you actually achieved that day (I know I do!) I find myself constantly thinking of the next thing I need to get done or the next bill that needs to be paid. It isn't until the end of the day when you sit back to relax that you think about all the little things you didn't notice at the time; you didn't appreciate that random cuddle that you didn't ask for; you bypassed the fact that they drew a straight line on a page instead of just the normal scribble of circles; you forgot to appreciate the fact you got to use the bathroom for the first time without a little person next to you. In the evening, it almost feels too late to appreciate those moments...it feels like you missed out. But you haven't. I know I need to slow down and live in the moment, appreciating all the little things that happen throughout the day...I know there would be too many to count on my hands!
Use our imagination
Quite often, I watch George playing, happy in his own company, wondering why he is doing what he is doing. On many occasions I think 'what has possibly led him to suddenly stop playing with the car and run to his bedroom?! What has gone through his little mind that made him stop playing?' Until he can talk properly, I know I will never find out what has driven him to change his play. But there is something, in his growing imagination that he is thinking about. The more experiences he has, the bigger his imagination is. I definitely need to take more inspiration from the experiences I have with him to play and talk more creatively. No one is perfect and there is always room for a bigger imagination!
This was my first reaction to the initial question. With the world spinning fast and the life of being an adult having worries and stresses, this is the one trait of all babies and toddlers that I want back! In our Story Sense classes, we are given an opportunity to watch the babies and toddlers just sit back and take everything in their stride, have a go at everything, worry about nothing and just enjoy the moment, smiles beaming on their faces and the pure delight of something new or different to play with. Then there are those who are so chilled out they are almost horizontal, generally taking a well earned nap after their hard work playing. It reminds me that I need to be like that sometimes too.