Last week my playgroup families met in a local park for our first session of 2017. This park has mega slides, climbing equipment, a static train, and a small track they can ride their bikes on. The children always love it, as well as the parents who get to catch up with each other, whilst watching their children play.
On this particular day, as we got ready to go there, there were a few spots of rain – nothing of concern as no rain was predicted…. 26 degrees said the weather forecast. As we arrived there was light drizzle, and then more drizzle, and then rain.
At first no one was perturbed, as it looked like it would or should ease up.
The children got on with their adventures – climbing the steep hill to the top of the slide and taking the ride down the slippery slope. As the rain became more steady, they continued their fun – now enjoying a faster ride as the slide became slipperier. And then it was even more fun when the ground became a bit muddy and the bottom of the slide had a puddle to end up in. The children were having a ball! They didn’t even seem to notice the rain or the fact that they were wet – they just enjoyed the fun the rain bought.
The parents however were standing under the shelter watching the children, commenting on how wet and muddy they were becoming and whether we should pack up and go elsewhere. They were discussing all the washing they were going to end up having to do. I left it up to the parents to decide.
After a while they decided we may as well stay, as the children were already wet.
The children continued to play in the rain and on the wet slide.
After lunch I collected a whole lot of towels from my work base nearby. We got the children to take off their wet and very muddy clothing and shoes, and we wrapped them in the warm dry towels before taking them home.
The parents could see that their children had a great time – not one complained of being cold or wet, and in fact one cried because he didn’t want to leave!
The interesting thing to me about his was that the children were living in the moment – experiencing exactly what was around them. The parents were focused on the future – all the washing, and the ‘what-if’s’ – what if they get a cold, what if they slip in the mud etc.
Yet, all the children had a great time!
We can learn a lot about experiencing the moment, ‘the now’, from our children. When they are engrossed in something, they are fully in it – think of puddles, or bubbles in the bath or playing with finger paints on the table. There’s no holding back – they are in, feet and all!
How often do we as parents hold back, for fear of what could go wrong, or fear of being seen behaving in a silly manner, or that we really ‘shouldn’t’ be doing this – we’re an adult.
But what if you did? Imagine the possibilities…. The giggles from your child as you jump in the puddles with them. The disbelief on your child’s face as you smear finger paint on your arms, and the surprise when you hop in the bath with them to play with the bubbles!
This is engagement with your child, and truly living in the moment!
And you’d probably have other parents staring at you, wishing they had the guts to do it!
Remember that being a parent gives you the opportunity
to have a second childhood! How good is that!!!