THere are many simple rules and quips and phrases for trying to navigate ourselves through life. This week, my family’s been on vacation and we’ve had some ups and downs, although I am glad to say there are far more ups than downs. Rest assured, there’s a lot that my children have taught me while we’ve spent every minute together for the past 5 days.
For one, I learned something about resiliency. The older son was terrified to go down the zipline at the Monkey Trunks obstacle course, but he gathered his wits and didn’t give up, eventually climbing back up the course and sliding down a zip line 20 feet in the air. Not bad for a 6 year old. What did I teach him? That overcoming your fears is one of the greatest feelings you’ll ever get to experience in life.
The same boy showed me something about courage under fire. On an alpine slide at Attitash mountain, a grown man nearly my own age broke the rules and ended up collided with the 6 year old, ramming his sled from behind so hard I thought the little guy was going to get knocked clear off the track. He managed to get hold of the steering handle, though, and drove it to the bottom, with his back hurting badly. (He’s fine, btw). The kid even tried to smile and wave for Mom who was holding a camera at the bottom of the track, but couldn’t have seen the collision. The man was genuinely sorry, but he was also clearly wrong and nearly caused a serious injury. Let’s just say that both the fantastic security and first aid staffs at Attitash mountain sprung into action and took care of things. What did I teach him? Well, we’re learning something about forgiveness – even when someone does you harm.
The little one, not yet 2 years old, taught me something about appreciation. His first night away, he was pretty terrified of the new surroundings. After trying to let him cry it out, it was clear he was just going to get worse. So, my wife headed for the couch to try and get some sleep, and I took a turn trying to get the little one to sleep. Instead of his pack and play, though, I held him like a Teddy bear and he calmed down, eventually drifting off to sleep on the bed next to me for the rest of the night. Not daring to wake him, I laid in one position for over 2 hours. My night’s sleep was terrible, but the rest of the week I was treated to multiple, “Hi, Da-da’s!” for no reason, and he took a shine to me like he has never done before. What did I teach him? That there are people in this world that you can trust to help you feel safe & secure, even if it means they have to give something of themselves.
For some reason, we tend to forget these simple gives-and-takes as we get older. Perhaps too many defeated, disappointed moments make us cynical. Perhaps there’s something in the brain that changes how we feel and perceive situations. Whatever the reason, it’s pretty clear that we’d all be a little bit better off if we acted more like our children, and were able to spread a greater sense of trust.