While sitting at the local park and looking at fathers playing with their children, I am reminded of what a pediatrician-friend of mine once said a long time ago. He advised that the best way to understand and bring up your children is to see the world through their eyes.
I had no problem with that idea because for a time, my fascination for “toys” and mini figures went way beyond my being a child. This was put to good use come fatherhood. I remember completely being caught up in the star war games my sons and I used to play when they were three or four. My excitement at the toy store was always equal with theirs as we sorted through matchbox cars and Lego. Added to this, I would always lose myself in my made-up bedtime stories which I especially tailored to their preference, while I animatedly narrated to my kids every night. Come to think of it, they might have made a good collection had I recorded them.
Adults acting like children are immature, is an old-school thinking that still persists. However, when taken in the context of spending precious time with children, this, for me at least, is the best approach ever. It is quite pathetic when you view the child’s world through the eyes of a grown up. We are missing the point entirely when their innocently-fresh perspective of the big wide world comes into conflict with the walls of our already-set beliefs. Let them play. Let them explore and flex their wings. As in writing, edit later. Theirs is the age of discovery and that is where creativity springs from. Every single “No!” or “Don’t” is a wet rag that douses the spark of knowing the world.
Just recently, my youngest, together with my mate and I, embarked on a new play activity, discovering the joy of the gym. Sure, we’ve played tennis together before, but that was years ago. As we ran through our sets, I am once more transported to that magical long-ago when I was one in sharing his excitement with a new world that was opening up for him. Only one word for this experience: sweet.
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