The Simplicities of Childhood
I have come to a major realization that the simplicity of childhood only lasts so long. I do not mean the innocence or the sense of wonder. I mean the true simplicity of just enjoying a simple activity over and over again. While observing our 6th child splash through puddles repeatedly, our almost 12 year old was following behind. My older son enjoyed the rain for a few minutes but then he hunched over disliking the chill of the rain and diligently followed his baby brother. My toddler played for a long time while we took refuge on the covered porch. He just splashed in the puddles, felt the water come down the drain pipe and just ran around. He didn’t need anything but the rain and space to play.
I began to reflect on my toddler’s everyday life. It seems as though he always just needs a few items to entertain him, mostly outdoors, and he is content. Part of this simplicity of childhood is playing with objects that are not actually toys. Young children seem to play for hours with cardboard boxes, rocks, sticks, kitchen utensils, pots and water!
Don’t be impressed, for I do not mean that he entertains himself. But, if I am simply present, observing what he wants to do and just watching him play he is satisfied. God forbid, I pick up a newspaper to read or check the computer, his satisfaction ends in under a minute. I can not do the dishes, fold the laundry or answer the phone either. He just wants me to sit and watch. I guess he is satisfied with his simple “toys” as long as I am doing something simple myself.
I am trying to cherish observing these moments because I do realize that this too shall pass. And the pressures of life start to weigh heavier on children as they get older. With older teenagers in the house and college looming on the horizon it slaps me right in the face that as parents we need to provide time for young ones to enjoy the simplicities of childhood as long as they can.
So the next time I rush my toddler along, I will try and just slow down to appreciate these moments where he is just savoring the simplicities of childhood.