I have learned much in my life from children and I’m happy to report that two of my best teachers currently are my 8 year old granddaughter [Nicole] and 10 year old grandson [Luke]. Often the lessons they teach me are profound - sometimes beyond their own understanding at the time. But sometimes they are pure delight and even funny enough that I have work hard to keep a straight face when I’m responding. Perhaps one of the most delightful of those occurrences happened late this spring. My granddaughter, days away from finishing second grade, proudly took her mother, brother, father, and me to see the display on her desk during the “parent open house” at school. One of the items was a pamphlet entitled “If I Ran the World”. On each page there was a statement that the student completed with their own thoughts. One of them started out, “If I ran the world, I would eliminate. . . “ and Nicole had finished by writing, “flu, death, snap peas, and tornados.”
I don’t think I quite kept the straight face I intended to after reading it. Snap peas just don’t seem to belong on that list! When I finished laughing I looked back at the list and realized, once again, the wisdom of youth. We all can name the catastrophic things that create fear in us, maybe some of them actually keep us awake at night. Indeed, those are possibilities one would expect to find on a list of things we’d like to eliminate. But the truth of the matter is that they don’t actually happen very often in our lives. I grew up in tornado country, knew about the one that got
Dorothy to Oz, but never actually saw one. I was close a couple of times, but definitely safe. How wise of my granddaughter [who at the age of 8 shouldn’t be worrying about her own death yet] to include one of the everyday, mundane things that are often a far greater plague in our ongoing existence.
Snap peas aren’t one of my particular favorites either, although I might have chosen a different food if I were making the list. The point is two-fold in my mind. First we might take some time to identify the small, everyday irritants in our lives and avoid them. I guess when you are 8 you can’t always choose what foods are set in front of you, but you probably could politely let other people know you don’t like them [that would be cilantro for me]. And the second point is that when we can’t avoid those little annoying things, we can probably live with them. So I guess the even greater wisdom Nicole was expressing was to know what we can control and what we can’t, but even more so, to know the difference between.
So my wish for you is that you avoid the things you really hate whenever possible, while learning to live peacefully with that you cannot change! And always pay attention to those young people who are filled with wisdom!
In the meantime, may you
Go shining, Karen