As our family was having lunch on Sunday, my six-year-old granddaughter told me about waking up early that morning and watching two birds outside her window. The light in her eyes was magical as she shared her experience … how the birds interacted, perched on the ledge then bumped each other off, and how it looked as if they were talking to each other. She felt like they were putting on a show just for her. “It was so cute, Dee Dee,” she said.
I have read a lot of research about the importance of nature to young children and realized, yet again, that I am STILL learning some of life’s most valuable lessons from children. I was reminded how important it is to STOP and smell the roses … or watch the birds.
So … I looked out my office window yesterday and saw an absolutely beautiful, sunny day with a gentle breeze blowing. I asked myself, “What would Ava do?” Of course, I knew the answer. I found a great table at a restaurant and had lunch … outside! I rarely eat lunch during the week and certainly do not take the time to enjoy it. However, because I had seen the world through the eyes of an enthusiastic, innocent, and loving child, I decided to stop and appreciate the beautiful day that was all around me.
Frank Lloyd Wright said, “The older I get, the more beautiful life becomes.” It surely does, but do we take the time to notice? Children see beauty all around them. It is the adults who often cover up that beauty by loading our children down with obligations, competitions, impossible schedules, and too much pressure. We could learn so many valuable lessons if we just watched HOW children experience their world when given the opportunity.
I challenge all of us—as parents, grandparents, educators, and friends of children—to ensure that we are giving them moments to connect with nature and to explore the beauty of the earth. I also encourage each of us to take the time to stop and appreciate our world as children see it.
I came back from our Sunday lunch so refreshed. Thank you, Ava!
Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.