As I nanny, I love to watch the joy, struggles and expressions of these two precious children. Sitting beside them as we sing songs in the back of a golf cart, smiling as Faith screams my name with a look of pure happiness, seeing them play by themselves with contentment, watching Joe get the biggest grin on his face as he sees an airplane. There is so much we can learn from children. And here’s a few lessons I’ve learned from Faith and Josiah.
Lesson #1 – Slow down
For a woman who likes to walk fast, get places on time and quickly, this one is hard. But well worth it. If Faith, Josiah and I set out to hunt down some snails by the rocks, I have to be ready to stop five times so Joe can collect sand to put in his bucket. Faith will want to check out a corner under the deck where hermit crabs like to crawl. Joe will have to stop and climb the palm tree stump. Faith will want to play with sticky sand (where the water washes over the beach) Most likely they will find trash along the way and I’ll have to dispose of it. Sometimes they get side tracked by lizards and big iguanas, running after them while screaming at the top of their lungs then giggling as the poor creatures scurry away to hide. Or sometimes the distraction is a beautiful, yellow and red flower that we’ve never seen before.
For me to slow down may mean that I need to look at my surroundings as I walk. How often have I walked past these beautiful flowers and never seen them because I was too busy heading towards the next step of my day? How often have I missed the crabs in the sand because I was too busy checking my time and thinking of what to do next with the kids? How often have I missed the opportunity to stare at the sky as it begins to say goodnight and thank God for a beautiful day? I’ve missed a lot of time the past two months and I’m slowly beginning to find new ways to slow down and live in the present of this beautiful environment I live in.
Lesson #2 – Try new things!
Faith is at my favorite age of all children, a bright beautiful 3! She is learning to be independent (which sometimes means I have to allow her to crawl around on the rocks without me holding her hand) And she’s learning to use her words to express how she’s feeling. (mostly this is when her brother pushes her or is lovingly squeezing her tightly in a bear hug and she doesn’t like it.) But she’s also at that age where she loves to do new things, and try to do them by herself. This includes playing with a kite! Nearly every day this week we have had a breeze…okay more like miniature hurricane (even that is an overstatement, but it’s been very windy. Too windy to fly a kite, but Faith would excitedly come to me and ask if she could take the kite out. And usually without much complaining about how windy it was, I would follow her outside and we’d fly her kite.
The joy that this girl carries is indescribably. But watching her do something new, the way her eyes crinkle really small, her smile gets bigger and brighter then the sun and her dimples appear on command, that is the enthusiasm I want to feel every time I do something new. Even though the wind kept knocking that kite onto the ground and I’d have to help her get it in the air, her smile never faltered. I want to be so happy trying something new, that even when the storms of life try and knock down that new situation I’m in, the new job, new lifestyle, the new kite that I want to fly, I want to be smiling through the hard time and bad times. And even if it doesn’t work right away, it’s hard or my kite keeps falling out of the sky, God can help me pick it up and help it fly again.
Lesson #3 – Communicate (worries and fears)
I feel that this is a huge one that I’m constantly being reminded of every season of my life. My life verses are Philippians 4:4-9, but especially verse 6: “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Josiah is still learning to communicate with me and his parents. But when he wants something, he lets us know. Or when he doesn’t like something he lets us know. That may sometimes be communicated through tears, pushing, the sound “m-o! M-o!” (more), throwing toys, sign language or shaking his head yes or no. He’s becoming very expressive, which I’m thankful for, though not always in the way he chooses to express what he’s feeling. But no matter if he wants more cheerios, a toy his sister has, or things aren’t going his way, he makes sure I know. When he’s so in love with Faith he has to give her a giant hug and smother her, or if he sees a bird, boat or plane, he stands next to me, sharing in the joy of what he sees through pointing and exclaiming “dah! dah!” over and over again. This child communicates the good and bad. He may worry about me not feeding him more, but he’s willing to express that to me.
Looking at this child’s lack of words, I look at myself and wonder how often I actually communicate to God how I feel about situations. This past week I’ve been getting horrible sleep and while I’ve been trying to just live and survive through lack of energy, never once did I go and tell my heavenly Father how I felt about the whole situation. I relied on him to get me through the day, but I never prayed, never communicated, never thanked him through the trials. It may or may not have made my situation better, but that shouldn’t have stopped me from truly expressing my emotions I was feeling through the struggles. Not only lack of sleep, but how many other cases have I had the past two months that I never stopped to talk to God, whether it was through nods of my head, laughing at the silly things that happened through the day, or just letting myself cry and pour my heart out.
I’m sure there’s many other things that I could find through these two children. But these three things have been the ones I’ve been taking to heart most recently (some in the past week recently!) Having had 3 months of amazing God time (during my DTS from January – March) constantly growing, and learning new things, the past two months have been a struggle. But I see now that God is still teaching me to slow down. He’s showing me how to do new things through him. He’s stretching me in hard, not easy to bend places. He’s teaching me to speak up in new ways. Growth is never easy. I read once, for a seed to begin to grow it needs to break. I’m learning that it could include breaking old habits and letting new ones grow.
Until next time,