Friday, March 27, 2009

Following a child

“This is how it happens sometimes. You will be following a child into a world that they will someday own. It’s a place you don’t understand and you go out of love, because they want to come here and you want to be with them. They will be able to go farther than you will, and par tof your job is to sense the moment just before you stop being helpful and to retreat gracefully so they can go on alone.

You will be stumbling along, trying to keep this child in sight, trying to be useful to them, and then something will happen. You fall in love with a skirt or a pair of shoes, and suddenly you understand that this is how your child feels all the time.”

I think this is a beautiful sentiment, excerpted from an essay by Mylisa Larsen in this month’s Brain, Child magazine. She expresses so well what makes the journey of following a child’s development so thrilling.

I’m so excited when River picks up something I love – appreciates the smell of a flower, the texture of a stick, the sound of the wind rustling the wind chimes. But I’m thrilled to to take in his excitement at things I wouldn’t normally notice, excitement so strong he’ll bounce in his stroller, wave his hands and pant. This can be caused by a passing truck, by balloons tied to a storefront ad, or children playing ball at recess.

In this way, I’m traveling to another world, I’m seeing what’s around me from a different perspective, I find his happiness and contentment contagious. I’m more satisfied with my own journey by being able to partially experience his.

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