Joy Through the Eyes of a Child

I wish we could all see the world through the eyes of a child. I wish I could. The innocent spontaneity they possess is infectious and can also teach us so much about the world we live in today. They see the small, simple things that make this life so full of wonder. They say what’s on their minds no matter how trivial or small we may think it is. They say it because it means something to them. And the things they often talk about are the things we no longer see as grown ups because we’ve been conditioned not to. Those little things could make such a difference in our lives if we could only condition ourselves to really, really see them. I wish we would all try harder to experience the simple JOY that children do, unencumbered and crashing into it. Crashing into joy.

I witnessed this with my own children. My oldest used to have to go out and say goodnight to the moon every. single. night. There were nights after I’d read to him and I was so exhausted from the day that I would hope he’d forget, truth be told. But that child never forgot his moon. It was his friend. It was his way of turning off the day to go to sleep. So every night, after bath time and books, “Mommy, we have to say goodnight to the moon.” So we’d go out in our jammies to find the moon. Moon hunting I called it. Some nights we’d go out and wave at the moon, tell the moon we loved it, thank the moon for the light it gave us in the night and my son would instantly be satiated, calmed down and snuggle in for the night. Then there were the nights that the moon was nowhere to be found. My son would cry because he was worried the moon had left him, that the moon was hurt or sad and hiding. I would come up with a story about the moon. Maybe his friend the moon was tired and needed to rest because even the moon got tired and needed a day off. Even the moon has hard days and needs to take a break sometimes. Maybe the moon had missed his nap. Eventually my son would come to accept that the moon had bad days too, but was still there for him resting peacefully behind the clouds. That simple moon, the one that’s still out there every night, had become an important part of our lives.

My youngest son saw delight in everything. I remember taking him to preschool one day and we were walking through the grass when a bunch of moths came flying up towards us. He said, “Look Mommy, they came to say good morning to us. ” And then EVERYTHING he saw came to say good morning to us. The sun, the grass, the trees, the flowers, the leaves, the breeze. And he looked at each thing with such wild JOY and delight. I remember thinking to myself, oh, to see with those eyes of his. What a beautiful way to see the world.

On Mothers Day he made a crown for me and haphazardly colored it in pink and orange and purple and green. Messy and beautiful. Truly one of the most treasured things I own. That crown, so simple and sweet, still rests on the lamp by my bed now because it represents the eyes of a child. Anytime I would get angry and start to raise my voice because my children were being unruly, wild little animals, my youngest could sense it, as children do. He would get very quiet, go and get that crown and without saying a word walk up to me and motion to me with his tiny little finger to bend down. I would bend down and he would put that crown on my head without uttering a word. Talk about a wise child and a humbling moment. Humbled me right on down. That simple beautiful crown with such importance. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

For a short while I was a preschool teacher and loved it. If I could still do it today and make what I need to live I would. I used to write down the things they would say throughout the day and put them in my gratitude journal. They would speak their mind with conviction and bravery. The kind we all used to have when we were children, before we were trained to bite our lip and sit on our hands and be still. But that’s a post for another time. I don’t have my gratitude journal right here in front of me, but a few quotes that I remember…”Ms. Perry, I don’t like that book. It’s for humans.” ” Ms. Perry, my hair hurts.” And a little girl I will call Daisy said to me out of the clear blue yonder with more excitement than she could ever contain, ” Ms. Perry! I have never seen purple cotton Candy!” Her eyes were wild and big like she had just discovered the eighth wonder of the world and then she fell over giggling in pure delight at this newfound revelation.

Children are pure JOY. Uncensored and brave and honest and raw. If we could all go back and remember what we were like as children, maybe, just maybe, we could see what they do and make this world just a little better, a little more joyful.

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