This past week I have been blessed to have a change of pace, and devote my time and energy to our beautiful, extended family from overseas. Three little people stepped off the plane, all backpacks and smiles, eyes brimming with love and enthusiasm for their upcoming Aussi adventure. What a thrill!
Life can feel very busy and pre-occupied at times, and so it felt very special to be able to set aside all other demands and spend a whole week in ‘fun-land’, seeing the world through young, curious eyes and vibrant imaginative minds! One of my favorite childhood books was C.S.Lewis’s ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, where children enter a wardrobe and find themselves exiting into a magical fantasy world on the other side.
Stepping into the wardrobe with our special young people, our family joined hands and took a leap into the excitement beyond. First came a citycat boat ride into Brisbane city, then the wild excitement of roaring dinosaurs and the hands on experiments at the Science Museum. I felt inspired by their thirst for knowledge and inquiring minds – dashing from one stand to another, hoping to try everything! The next day we entered ‘Hollywood’ on the Gold Coast, spending a day at Movieworld! Curiosity was replaced by pure courage, braving the highest roller coasters and fastest rides! When did my fear of heights and speed creep into my life? Was I once this carefree, I wonder? More adventures awaited us on the other side of the wardrobe – some days at the beach and others exploring rainforests. In between all of these marvelous things, we contorted our bodies in the challenging game of ‘Twister’- when did I become so stiff? Yoga is definitely on the cards when I get home! Between it all, we adults found ourselves mesmerized with storytelling and imaginative possibilities, the true magic of childhood! It will feel sad to go back through the door and farewell these beautiful little people – how they lit up our world. With minds like sponges, they have soaked up every word and experience – with a frank curiosity and inspired love of learning.
I envy my own daughter who is about to launch into her career as a primary school teacher. What a privilege to have such young vibrant minds in her realm on a daily basis. I dream of becoming a grandmother myself one day, so that I can walk this fabulous road often! In the words of Richard Branson: “I may be new to this grand-dude gig, but I’m learning fast. I see life as one big long university education, and this phase is teaching me so many lovely lessons. As a parent it’s easy to get caught up with all the stresses of childbearing, and get lost in everything you’re doing wrong, but as a grandparent you can take a step back and observe the fun little things.” He goes on to say: “Discovering smiling with a child is very special. I’ve spent the last three months laughing, smiling and joking with my grandchildren – it’s a great way to interact, communicate and share love. A smile can prompt a smile, which can turn into a giggle, extend into a laugh, and bring happiness to an entire room.”
I love these words and they ring very true. Yesterday I was at my godson’s 21st birthday party- he is special to me for many reasons. During the speeches, a little cousin of his started to giggle and before long, the whole room was laughing!
So what can we learn from these young minds? I have a few ideas:-
- Carpe diem – live for each moment and each day
- Notice the small things
- Have fun and play lots of games
- Develop a sponge brain – and be curious
- Grasp every opportunity to learn more in this university of life
- Be open to adventure and lose the fear of change
- Ask loads of questions and genuinely be interested in the answers
- Keep a diary
- Keep moving and stay active – we weren’t designed to sit all day!
- Speak your truth, and smile and laugh often