We, as adults, can learn things from young children. Children can inspire us. Sometimes it takes a child to remind us of the basic things that are important. Being around children can give us an excuse for lots of cuddles, silly songs and a reminder to release our inner child. Looking at the world through the eyes of a child can help us see things differently.
When my first born was a toddler he used to get excited when he saw snails after it rained. Until that time I used to be annoyed by snails in my garden because they have this habit of eating the plants I am nurturing. My son taught me to look at them through ‘new eyes’ not as a pest but as a fun creature. I even wrote a poem about this.
My second child reminded me of the importance of spending time and playing games with those we love. I had set up a star chart to encourage him to do little tasks around the house with the promise of a cash reward when he had five stars. He asked if I would sit down and play his favourite game with him instead of giving him money.
Young children really need little to keep them amused. Yes, these days many have more toys and gadgets than they have time to play with. However, take them away from all their toys and they will use their imagination to make a cardboard box into a car, train, house or something else. At the beach they will make sandcastles and pieces of driftwood will become bridges, people or whatever they need to complete their sand world. I remember the armchairs turned upside down and draped with sheets to make an indoor cubby-house.
I love the way young children can make friends. They simply start talking to another child they have just met. I recall my sons as youngsters making friends on the beach, in the shops and at the playground.
Recently I watched with pleasure as three pre-schoolers on the train got to know each other. Two were brother and sister and they had just met a little girl. They were at ease with each other and were so excited when another train went past.
They didn't need toys to keep them entertained. Instead they played peek a boo, made funny faces at each other and giggled in delight. Then they quietly sang, ‘The wheels on the bus,’ with no hint of self consciousness. Everything was fun and exciting for these youngsters. Their enthusiasm for life was infectious.
Young children can present all sorts of challenges and at times are very tiring - but they are also inspiring. They ask questions and make us think about things. Sometimes they have a fresh view on life. Adults can learn from children as well as vice versa.