I took my nephew to the aquarium yesterday.
This kid is an absolute water kid – he lives in the pool/bath and loves sea creatures (must be the Pisces in him). I was certain he was going to be “Gaga” over the aquarium and was so excited to take him. Of course it was going to be expensive, but it’ll be “worth” it. It was, but not in the way that I thought.
He spent literally 30 minutes there (those with kids reading this are laughing in agreement). A whole magical shimmering tunnel of sharks and stingrays and this kid was more interested in pushing his stroller (and I don’t think he even looked up!). The one part he enjoyed was watching the fish store guppies in the kiddie section. We left with us both being frustrated, hungry, tired, and honestly overwhelmed.
It was at my surrogate grandmother’s house that I had an “Ah Ha” moment, while watching my nephew get more enjoyment out of playing with coasters then a pool full of exotic fish. The real reason (or “realson” as I like to put it) I was disappointed was all to do with me. Here I was so excited to share this amazing experience with him and he did have a great time in his mind – he saw fishies and got to push the stroller and hang out with Gros Omi – that was a great time. And you know what? He could have had that anywhere! It’s not that he took the experience for granted, it’s that he’s grateful for every experience. I wanted to do something special for him and for it to be this “great event” but low and behold that was for me and my need for approval. He did have a great time, and there’s no price to put on that.
We teach our children and we learn from our children.
Children are so much more resilient and intelligent than we give them credit for. When they are tired, they rest on the floor. If they are hungry they stop what they are doing and grab a snack. If they want hugs or comfort they fling themselves at you with open arms. My parents worry that my nephew can work my phone without my assistance. They say to limit his screen time as it’s negatively affecting his development. After minutes he’ll hand my phone back to me and go “done” then run outside to chase butterflies. He has an internal technology time limit check. When’s the last time you put your phone down in the middle of doing something to go outside and enjoy? If you can’t answer that then put your phone down (even if you are reading this blog on it, I’ll completely understand) and go outside and just immerse yourself in the simplicity of nature, of pure joy and fun.
I laugh the most when I run after my nephew and he falls down in a fit of giggles. He’s more active than I’ve ever been yet he makes me want to run (which I’ve never been inclined to do before). Professionally, I’ve learned a great deal of skills and treatment tools from our interactions to use in practice with the pediatric population, and new (and soon to be new) parents. He’s taught me about the importance of having boundaries, rules, and structure in regards to modifying thoughts/behaviours and promoting neurological cognitive development. I’ve also learned a lot about myself from him (the importance of self care being most monumental – it’s difficult to have patience on no food, sleep, or breaks!). Our children are a reflection of who we are. They are an unbiased, unfiltered, truth telling mirror that reflect back to us things about ourselves we need to focus on. We need to listen to them, and to ourselves.
Rather than live through our children, lets let them shine through us.
The more I live, the more I learn and am able to use these experiences and life lessons to help others live to their fullest. And that is worth more than any overpriced aquarium.
Feel free to comment with the lessons you’ve learned about life and yourself from interacting with your children. Be happy and healthy everyone 🙂