What We Forget That Kids Don’t

The other day I was standing in my yard, waiting for the school bus to drop my boys off at the corner. It was a warm afternoon filled with blue skies and white, fluffy clouds. There was even a gentle breeze. I was thinking how perfect the weather was . . . and consequently how much I'd be loathing it within the next month when it was ninety degrees every day . . . when I glanced over at my four year old, Haylee. She was romping around the yard in her ballet leotard and cowboy boots. She was standing beneath one of our big trees looking up at the birds that were chattering in it, fascinated. I don't know what it was. Maybe it was the way the sun dappled her face, or maybe it was just one of those moments that moms have, but I was awestruck.

I stood there just staring at her. She was giggling about the birds who seemed to be having some sort of argument. And she was talking to them. I have no idea what she was saying because I was too tied up in my own thoughts. There stood a girl, a little person, who knew exactly how to enjoy life. Haylee lives in and enjoys every single moment. She's always been like that.

I realized that she turns into a terror and throws monster temper tantrums and screaming fits when someone or something . . . anything really . . . gets in the way of it. She gets testy when we're running errands because she has a mom who is constantly telling her to stay by the cart and not to touch things. All she wants to do is wander and explore and admire every pretty, little thing that she sees. She turns into a blaring siren when her brothers tease her because in reality they're interfering with the enjoyment she previously felt. She goes nuts at the doctor's office because she's not allowed to climb and move and play like she would at home.

The more I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that all of my kids are this way. All of your kids are probably this way.

I've wished every day since that I'd had my camera in my hand at that moment. I wish I could have captured the vision that left me in awe. I wish I had visual documentation of the huge lesson that I learned.

Kids understand how to enjoy life. And I think more often than not, adults forget how. We're so busy practicing manners and teaching manners and attempting to discipline and teach our children all of the important things that we think we've learned, that we forget that life was given and meant for our enjoyment and progress too.

There's a quote from Gordon B. Hinckley that I love. He said, "In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." My mom even has this quote on a tile in her living room. And I appreciate that attitude so much about her.

Life is glorious. I know that the trials and drudgery and naysayers can begin to make us believe otherwise, but it really is magnificent.

Think it through for a minute. We are children of the Most High God. He loves us. And under His direction, the Savior of mankind created this world for us. Life was designed as part of a loving Father's plan to bring us joy and allow us to learn and progress and master and perfect. It's a beautiful thing.

And here we are, given every opportunity to choose wisely. We're surrounded by beauty and goodness. We're blessed with families so that we can learn to fully love and to be happy. And still we walk around with frowns on our faces, mumbling about the ninety degree weather we just know we're going to hate. Then five minutes later we're whining about the rain. We spend enormous amounts of time trying to get things perfect, all the while failing to enjoy the process of getting there. Correcting our children seems to be our life's mission, when really, maybe we should be down on our knees looking up into the trees. Maybe we should be oohing over the sequined tutu instead of worrying so much about making sure our kids learn to walk right beside us. Maybe we should be walking right beside them on occasion.

Kids know how to enjoy life. They haven't had the time to decide to do otherwise. It's probably about time we started taking some lessons from them.

The day after my little epiphany, we went to a play date with a bunch of good friends. I followed my two little girls around with my camera for a bit, this time deliberately looking for that same spark I'd seen in Haylee's eyes. And guess what? It was there. It's there all the time. Kids enjoy living, they thrive off of learning and I'm convinced that they deeply wish adults understood.

So I made a promise to myself that day. I promised that I'd try to understand. I promised that I'd start finding more enjoyment in all of the little moments. And I promised that I'd start paying more attention to that sparkle in my kids' eyes. And if all of my dreams come true, that sparkle will never leave my children. Instead, when my children have kids of their own, they'll have a Grandma with some extra twinkle in her eyes and a little bit of lightness in her step.

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