So I noticed recently that whether or not I have a good time when I’m playing or just being with my son is almost wholly dependent upon me. Like…80% or more dependent on me.
This really came to my mind when, at our second home Barnes and Noble, my son sat down in the aisle as he does and started playing with some truck-shaped books that have wheels. While, yes, these books are super cool, my first thought is definitely not to join in on the play. My initial thoughts are typically concerning the problem with blocking the aisles, the discomfort of sitting on the ground and playing, etc. Not that thinking about the space we’re taking up in a public space is bad, but it just struck me that I couldn’t just *be* there in that space and in that moment with him.
Because when I’m there, our time together is so great. I’m pretty sure he can tell how engaged I am with what we’re doing. I think so much more of my life would be better too if I could simply learn from my two-year-old. Kids get it. They know how to be present (*cue temper tantrum* okay, I get it…)
Stephen Gaskin says:
“Children are our guides to the higher spiritual planes. They serve to remind us of what we may have lost or forgotten in our efforts to cooperate with our culture…The child’s state of consciousness is not to be rejected or replaced, but supplemented by the growing knowledge that you can’t get what you want by force–physical or psychic. This is what we have to teach children with the utmost patience we can muster, for the pain they may cause us is nothing to the revelation they offer at every moment.Stephen Gaskin in Ina May Gaskin’s Spiritual Midwifery
Kids get it, and they can teach us a lot if we can just be there for it.
I’ve been listening to some Alan Watts recently, and one of the things he said especially stuck out while thinking about what my son can teach me about being present.
“Ecstasy by one road or another is inevitable…Ecstasy is in a way the nature of the universe. There is a universe for the simple reason that it’s ecstatic.Alan Watts, Out of Your Mind
The universe just is because it is; children know that. This is it. We’re not all here trudging through life just to get to something better or worse at the end of the deal. We’re here, and this is ecstasy.
For now, I’ll shoot for taking his lead and always being up for play.