Brighter Pathways © 2009
1237 E. Livingston Street, Suite B
Orlando, FL 32803-5401
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Welcome to messages which are related to my own perspective of the world: musings and articles of interest.
Wisdom of Children
(first published in Parenting in Central Florida in 1994)
Several weeks ago, as I was at my wits' end (over something that now seems insignificant), my nine-year-old daughter reminded me what I did for a living and asked what I would advise someone in my office about this problem. I was stunned by her insight. Since then, I have been reflecting on how our children can become our teachers in so many ways. Although they come in smaller bodies, they truly are "master teachers" sometimes. One of the most significant lessons has to do with patience and unconditional love. This is sometimes a very hard lesson, as children may be willing to put us through a great deal to test it -- to see if our positive affection really comes with "no strings attached".
Other lessons have to do with how children can expand our vision, helping us see the world in a new way. Their perspective can be so much richer and deeper than we are seeing things. During testing, I recently asked a youngster about Christopher Columbus so I could score his response “pass” or “fail.” The next thing I knew, he was explaining things to me from the Indians' point-of-view. It was fascinating to hear his opinion about the socioeconomic ramifications on the Indians of Columbus’ “so-called discovery.”
Another great lesson has to do with modeling. Everyone knows that we big people are role models for the little people. But stop and think. How many times has your child modeled the most wonderful of human characteristics for you? Honesty, sensitivity, creativity, humor, or expressions of love? I am reminded of a counseling session that absolutely could not proceed until a stray chameleon in my room was caught and released outside or "he'll starve to death in here." Knowing this child was described as a bully by his peers, I was touched by his display of compassion and knew we could build on these feelings.
Sometimes children teach us simply through their joy in living. They entice us into play and fun in spite of ourselves. Last night I found myself playing Dominoes instead of folding the overflowing laundry as I had planned. I had a blast! Plus, I followed my own personal advice to "enjoy and spend time with your child." Tonight, my daughter can enjoy spending time with me catching up on the laundry.
Finally, children teach us about openness. Most children love openly and honestly -- and share their negative feelings just as freely -- until they learn the constraints of adulthood. From oatmeal kisses to hugs dirty from the playground, we adults can learn what it feels like to be loved unconditionally. There are so many lessons that have to do with feeling worthwhile and laughing and forgiving.
So in spite of my educational degrees (go Gators!!) and years of training and experience, I am convinced that the children around me are often far more wiser than I am. Consider the immortal passage by Kahil Gibran about children:
"They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies, but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you can not visit, not even in your dreams."
Dr. M.’s Messages
Notice: Leave of Absence Closure
Dr. Messenger will be starting A Leave of Absence as of Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 for an unspecified time. Assessments and consultation can be scheduled until then. The website will remain available for educational purposes, until the office is reopened.
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