Spending time in the universe of a 3 year old.
Today I was playing with a beautiful young girl of about 3 years of age.
She was asking me all sorts of questions
and we were discussing interesting things
in a way that you can only do with a three year old!
At one point she found a little elastic hair tie and asked me what it was.
I told her it was for tying up hair
and to show her that it was stretchy
I held it in my hands for a moment and pulled it back and forth.
A Moment of Possessiveness
I think she might have thought I was going to take it from her
so she snatched it back from me and said
I said to her
“Of course it is yours my dear.
I am very happy that you found it
and I would never try and take it from you.”
She seemed satisfied with that and we continued to play.
At one point we were by the railings at the top of the staircase.
She wanted to put her head through the railings and look down.
A Dangerous Desire
She was small enough that she could easily
fit in the space between the rails
and could possibly fall.
So this was a dangerous thing for her to want to do.
Rather than caution her against to doing it
or even more directly telling her not to do it,
I explained to her what the potential danger was
and how to take good care of herself
while still getting to do what she wanted.
Validating Her Desire, Modifying it for Safety
I said to her that looking through the railings is a lot of fun,
I certainly enjoy doing that as well
The thing is, I like you so much I do not want you to get hurt
so it is important to do it in a way that you will be safe.
I suggested to her that she keep one arm around one bar
and the other around the next one, with a third in her middle.
That way she would be safe
and could freely stick her head through the bars
and look down the long staircase.
Again she was really excited
that I made it possible, safe and enjoyable
for her to do something that she really wanted to do.
Kids Are Open To Suggestions When They Feel Validated
After looking out into the vastness of space,
which is what looking down the staircase seemed to her,
she held the hair tie out over the open air
and asked me if she could drop it.
Wanting to validate her desire again
I said to her that the hair tie was small and
certainly wouldn’t hurt anybody if she dropped it
therefore it is a wonderful and exciting thing to do.
I said that if it was something heavy
it might hurt somebody and we wouldn’t want to do that,
but the fact that she wanted to throw the hair tie
shows that she really understood.
She liked this answer and together
we looked down as she dropped it
watching it fall.
Going on a Treasure Hunt
Then she looked at me and said
“Let’s go find it.”
So this little divine angel, her mother and I
walked down the stairs looking for the hair tie.
Her mom was actually the one to find it and I said
“Of course mom found it, your mom is the best.”
She was then leaving to go home and I said to her in parting
“It was so nice spending this time with you.
I enjoyed every minute because
you are wonderful and smart and funny and amazing.”
At that moment I believe all the positive interaction
with me touched something in her heart.
She looked at me and
with a little hopeful smile
held up the hair band.
The same hair tie
that she was so happy to find.
The same hair tie
that she was attached to
and snatched out of my hands,
“Would you like this?”
Holding back tears I replied
“Oh my goodness, this is the most wonderful gift.
Thank you so much, you are so generous.”
Two Spirits Connected
Our interaction was so nourishing,
validating and connecting.
We were both touched deeply by the experience.
In this environment her natural generosity sprang forth.
She spontaneously wanted to give back to me
and do something to make me feel happy.
It was almost as if that hair band
was leaping out of her hand,
leaping from her heart
Young People Are Capable Of So Much More
Than We Usually Give Them Credit For
This was yet another reminder for me
that young people
and perhaps, dare i say, all people
have a natural goodness within.
Sometimes the trials of life can cover this up
or obscure its purity,
but it doesn’t take much to reveal the light inside.
The Common View Of Children Is
That moment when she snatched it out of my hand,
that is what we often see young children do.
It is common to think that is how kids are.
I frequently hear adults talking about kids
like they are very self centered,
they are only looking out for themselves at that age
and do not understand empathy.
There is this view all children have to learn these things.
That it is not natural within them.
People will often cite brain development
and other serious things like that.
We Can Choose To See Greatness In Our Kids Instead
And yet I have found time and time again,
honestly without fail,
that given the right environment and interaction
all children respond with empathy, love and generosity.
I am holding that little brown hair band
in my hand at this very moment as I write this.
I Am Full Of Gratitude
I have tears welling up in my eyes and feel choked with emotion
thinking about how powerful that little girl’s love really is.
She gave me a great gift today
and I am deeply grateful for it.