Where the children lead, we must learn to follow.
It’s an interesting concept but we’ve heard it before. We also need to heed it now.
The children are trying to tell us something about the world in which they wish to live. Have you talked to a young person about the environment lately? They accept recycling as a way of life. They care about trees and forests and animals that are endangered. They care about football and baseball and shopping at the mall, too, but they are tuned into their environments and are following the intuitive guidance they receive about what will keep the planet safe for them to enjoy and what will destroy it.
Children also care about others. There are some amazing stories about young folks who hear about a problem, do a little research, start a lemonade stand or take up a collection, and do good works with what they have earned. These kids have something to teach us.
First, they listen. Really listen. And do we do that? Do we really listen to what is going on around us or do we leap to conclusions based on our pre-conceived notions or political perspective or religious views? Are we willing to ask a whole bunch of questions until we get enough answers to form an opinion, or do we form an opinion and stop asking questions?
When our granddaughter was 7 it was a national election year in the US and she listened to presidential debates with the candidates, asked questions, and then decided which candidate she thought would be the best president. She really did sit through long debates and ask cogent questions. [I found it hard to sit through those tedious debates!] But she was astonished to learn t hat she could not vote in the election because she was too young. She was outraged! I did take her to the polling place on election day so that she could wave a poster of her preferred candidate, about the only thing that a 7-year-old can do about an election.
But what was she trying to show us? She modeled how an educated electorate participates in a democracy. She took time to ask questions. She reviewed information. Do we do that? In how many situations do we do the research, ask the questions and, most importantly, weigh information before we form an opinion that a hurricane couldn’t move us to change?
What about the child inside of you? Do you listen to the voice of that scared, timid, insecure child or do you ignore the voice? Maybe there is a better way to work with your inner child than to try to shut him/her up. Perhaps really listening and then offering reassurance would lay to rest the fears instead of allowing them to operate within you at an unconscious level. With many of the clients with whom I work this is an issue where we focus the coaching. Buried inside each of us are the children that we once were, the ones who reacted to the parenting that we received, who were told a worldview to which they must subscribe. But also buried within us are the children who were dreamers, the ones who knew that this world could be a better place and who wanted to be the ones to bring that better world into existence.
‘You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one.’ Remember that song – Imagine, by John Lennon? Let’s return to being the dreamers that our inner children were. Let’s allow the children around us to have and to pursue their dreams for a better world. Let’s listen, really listen, to the messages from all the children, inner and outer, as they lead us into that better world. And let’s commit to support the dreams that all people have.
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