Spirit of Childhood

Aldous Huxley once said “The secret of Genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, never losing your enthusiasm”.

I do so love being around children.

My own children tonight, engaged in a “salad bar”. Of their own initiative and desire… making delicious salads. Enthusiastically!

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Is that not a delicious looking salad? I think it tasted even better because it had so much love in it.

Since opening my own paediatric occupational therapy practice 2 years ago, I have rarely been asked to elaborate on what I do.

I do so love being with children.

Even, and perhaps especially, children with difficulties.

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Here is an example of a “plan” I might make to help structure a child’s session and ensure their success with playing in my therapy gym.

Are children enthusiastic by nature – you bet!

Do children have challenges than prevent them from being enthusiastic in all settings, with all people, at all times – you bet!

Do some children hardly ever have the experience of being enthusiastically engaged – you bet!

And even more is this the case, each day I believe, in our current culture.

I do so enjoy being around children.

Difficult children.

Sullen children.

Children with not a lot to be enthusiastic about, given their day to day experiences.

I often wish I could walk a mile in their shoes…

And then I’d even mores appreciate their enthusiasm at walking through my doors.

So, in short, as my kids say “I play for work”. But its a whole lot more than that. I’d love to chat more with you about it one day.

Is it easy? NO!

Is it always fun? Heck, no!

Do I get to see the spirit of each child? Certainly yes.

Do I get to see that spirit in a different way than many other people in these “difficult” children’s lives? Amazing, another resounding, yes! Sometimes surprises me that in 1 hour a week, added up over a year or more, I can see a child in a light so different than their teachers, EAs, parents, etc.

There is no easy explanation for this. No formula. It is an art form that takes shape each time I meet a child.

And, I must say in 2 weeks holiday from work I have realized something strange…

Do I get to see the spirit of each adult in my day to day life? Certainly no.

Even ones I have spent countless hours with. Do I really “know” them? There is so much we can keep unseen.

Children do not have such walls.

Even difficult children.

I am very fortunate that a handful of passionate adult souls choose to be vulnerable, open, welcoming and enthusiastic with me…

But, I must say I agree with Aldous Huxley.

I realize what is more tiring than work – (even working with 5-6 “difficult” children each day!),

Is spending time with adults who have lost enthusiasm.

I am acutely aware that I only have so much time.

And the time I have, I will choose to spend wisely.

So, in many years, I will not feel I have wasted and squandered away this limited amount of time I had.

I will be doing less in 2016.

I will be loving more.

I will be present more with my people.

And I will be deliberately choosing to spend more time with passionate, loving people.

People who love me as I am. Those from whom I consistently come away feeling more loved, more loving, and more enthusiastic.

As Joanna Cann has so amazingly written her first book about, I am free!

As Neufeld says – it is not the “role” someone has in a child’s life that is important (teacher, father, doctor, aunt, etc.) but the relationship that matters.

And so it is with me.

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How will you choose to spend your time in 2016?

What salad bar will you open…? with enthusiasm!

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