The Wisdom of a Child

Crystal - White Hall, Kansas
Entered on February 25, 2008
Age Group: 65+
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I believe in the power and wisdom of a child.

There are times when I lose sight of what is really important in life. I feel rushed, tired, competitive, and overly, stressed. The simple wisdom of a child’s reality brings my life back into perspective.

After my divorce, I remember how our new living conditions filled me with despair. I felt that I had let my daughter down. Our old home had a swing set on a grass covered lawn with beautiful trees. We were now resigned to asphalt and a dirt pile at the corner of the building. I was depressed every time I went out the door. After struggling down the flight of stairs with two loads of laundry, I could not believe that my child had stopped to play in that pile of dirt! She was estatic, exclaiming, “Mom, they’re back! Come look!” Irritated, I retraced my steps and tried to see what all the excitement was about. At first, I could not see anything and then I saw and could not help but smile. There they were – ants scurrying along from one hill to another. My daughter asked, “How can that one carry that big leaf?” “I don’t know, honey. I have never been able to figure it out. It’s amazing, isn’t it?” This was the beginning of countless moments exploring the wonders of nature that existed in the dirt pile.

Another time, my daughter’s teacher called me in for a conference. “Your daughter refuses to participate in class. I have a contest and award stickers for the children who correctly answer the questions. Your daughter just sits there with a smile on her face. She never participates.” After I got home, I asked my daughter why she didn’t answer the questions and win some stickers. She let out an exasperated sigh and explained, “Mom, you don’t understand. Those stickers are the same stickers they gave out last year. I’ve already got them. The other kids want the stickers. It makes them happy to get the stickers.”

Watching my daughter play softball, I was horrified to see her start clapping when a boy from the other team hit a homerun. She even waved at him when he rounded the bases! When her team came in, I scolded her, “You don’t cheer for the other team. I saw you clapping for the boy that hit a homerun!” “Did you see how far he hit it? He was so happy!” my daughter laughingly exclaimed. I shook my head and smiled.

My daughter found happiness in others. Do I have the same value system? My life is filled with a score card of my successes and my failures. It took the eyes of a child to help me realize that life is not all about me. There is beauty and wonder in the smallest of things. There is pleasure in the shared moments of others.