Adults need to be taught a lesson sometimes. There are no better candidates to humble us into this realization than our own children.
I came to this conclusion about two years ago, when I scolded my then five-year-old daughter for behaving badly towards her younger sister. I was surprised by her behaviour; she is usually such a gentle and considerate child. Her sister was equally surprised and justifiably upset.
I sent five-year-old Dominique upstairs to consider her actions. She seemed at a loss to explain them, until she ran into her father.
“I didn’t listen to my heart, Daddy. My mouth doesn’t always tell the truth,” she admitted. “But my heart never lies.”
“What happened,” he asked a visibly distraught Dominique.
She pondered the question only seconds before explaining: “I didn’t listen to my heart, Daddy.”
“My mouth doesn’t always tell the truth,” she admitted. “But my heart never lies. My heart was telling me not to do it but my hands just wouldn’t listen!”
While somewhat amused, both my husband Patrick and I were also left a little dumbstruck. It was brilliant and it just poured out of an innocent and ultimately wise-beyond-her-years little girl. So simple, yet so profound. It is a statement we could all take to heart.
A lesson learned
We, as adults, are conditioned to assume the role of teacher. While usually appropriate, sometimes I wonder who is teaching whom. Children see the world in a way that has long escaped us. Everything is complex and new while their perspective is untainted, simple and honest. It is that perspective that we should cultivate and appreciate.
I remember that as a child, I felt I had an important voice but it seemed to be drowned out by all the chatter going on around me. I have learned my lesson. Instead of always imposing my views and slanted perspectives on my children, I try to draw out their own. I am often left impressed, and always a little amused as a result.
Children see the world in a way that has long escaped us. Everything is complex and new while their perspective is untainted, simple and honest. It is that perspective that we should cultivate and appreciate.ed
I am now exploring the idea of including some of these messages in children’s books. I owe it to my children to give voice to some of their important teachings. My first offering is expected shortly. It has been a project that has been extremely close to my heart.