Learning from a Toddler?
What....learn from a small child?
I have the awesome privilege of spending a lot of time with my granddaughter. I love how God uses her to speak to others around her. I know some of the points listed below are characteristic of her age group but we still need to stop and take note as God can use even a child to teach us if we are open.
- Lighten up - When we are all in a hurry and trying to get her coat and shoes on, she makes it a game laughing and laughing. At times she runs away from us and hopes to play tag. When we relax we too can laugh and play knowing that one more minute isn't so serious that we have to stress out. We need to choose less stress in our lives. Some things that have irritated you in the past, try laughing at them instead.
- Take the time to 'stop and smell the roses' - While going for a bike ride, she stops every few feet to pick a leaf off a tree or a clover flower putting them in her bicycle basket so she can keep them. Our mail box is just at the end of our block but it takes us a good half hour to get there and back because of the many beautiful things along the way the she feels are beckoning her to stop and enjoy. (and I learn patience so I guess it is a win win) Let's not miss out on enjoying the many beauties of God's creation.
- There is potential for connecting with others everywhere you go - No matter where we are she assumes everyone wants to be her friend. She runs up to other kids who are complete strangers saying 'hi' and asking their name. One time at Dollarama, she walked with a little girl while we shopped and they then hugged good bye. We walked with the little girl and her mom to their vehicle and they yelled 'good bye' across the parking lot while we walked to our car. With her, adults are no different. Whether we are waiting in line, checking our groceries or at the post office, she engages in conversation telling people stories or introducing them to her toy Elmo. We have been able to meet a lot of people we would not have encountered otherwise. We need to be careful as adults that we do not assume wrong things about people because of our past experiences or problems. We need to reach out more in relationship as walls can be removed much easier than we think. Many people have commented to me how they wish they could be more like her in engaging others.
- Be a giver - She is constantly making gifts for others. When she knows someone is coming over she greets them with a picture she colored or painted herself. When going to the store, doctor's office or even the hairdressers she proudly walks in with a picture for the receptionist, doctor or whoever. Many have been so blessed by her love and giving to them as some have been complete strangers.
- Love and value others - Everyone looks forward to seeing her because she jumps up and down and screams whenever they come over or she sees them. Hugs are giving out so freely as she hugs 'hello' hugs 'goodbye' and randomly hugs just because. When she knows someone is coming over she gets so excited and will watch at the window. When she seems them coming, she will run out the door to scream and give hugs (not to mention hugging them again when they enter the house). No matter what she is happy to see you. Again, I trust that we as adults can let things go quickly so we can always see the best in people and be thankful for them in our lives.
- Spend quality time with others - When we go to the park or to a local play room, she immediately goes to other kids and begins playing with them whatever they are doing, sharing, chatting and introducing herself. She wants to interact and find ways to spend her time with others whenever she has the opportunity. The focus is spending time with others where they are at. We can't get so hung up on finding people that will do what we want and when we wan, t that we do not build relationships by coming alongside others.
- Enjoy life - Everything is new to her so everything is intruiging. Things we see as common or even uninteresting are a whole new world to her. She sees everything with fresh eyes. We need to have a thankful heart for even the little things.
- Be teachable - She is always wanting to learn new things, asking questions and observing. She wants to help me cook, clean, make the bed the list goes on (some of you are thinking that must be great getting all that help well.....) So I let her help so she learns. She is our salad maker now (with a little help of course). She demonstrates a hunger to learn that isn't satisfied. Ask God to increase the hunger in you again and again. Crave to learn more and know truth.
- Enlarge your thinking and skills – When she sees something new, she has to try it herself. It is amazing to see the skills she has developed by doing things I would have thought were too difficult for her. It is so easy to accept where we are at but we need to remember that Christ lives within us. His Spirit wants to empower us to do the will of the Father beyond where we have walked and functioned before so be open to change.
- Care for others – If anyone is hurt, is complaining about something or groans, she is right away concerned that we are all right. She will go over to the person and ask them what is wrong, give them a hug or run and tell someone. She wants to be sure we are all right before she goes back to what she is doing. Society has made it seem right to just care about ourselves and our own little circle however Jesus taught us the parable of the good Samaritan.
Our life can be like a whirlwind but remember, it is a whirlwind you can stop. Let's not get so busy and stressed out that we cannot see what God is showing and teaching us through whatever means He brings. Open your heart to Him and He will teach you and enlarge you.◊