My daughter’s Head Start preschool classroom is practically across the street from a large park. Since the weather started improving and because there is a lot of disruption in our home due her sister’s little family moving in with us after the baby was born, on the drier, warmer days, I’ve been taking her over to the park so she can be her little Princess Tomboy (PT) self.
My little PT, like many five year olds, had this gung-ho gusto way of going after what she wants, whether it’s to pet every dog she sees, climb and jump from every rock formation she passes, or call on any adult in her vicinity to aid her in her efforts to reach the monkey bars. She’s fearless in her desire to achieve her intended objective.
Whether it’s a function of being five or a function of her Aspergers, she’s often so focused on her desire that she seems to not have any consciousness of being in danger or that she could be on the verge of injuring herself or others. It’s enough to drive a mommy like me a bit mad at times. Both definitions are equally applicable at times, much to my chagrin.
On the last day of April, it was like Summer had arrived nearly two months early. I already knew I’d be taking her to the park. So, when I arrived to pick her up and she excitedly asked to go to the park, I told her that was the plan and we left very quickly, both of us forgetting to make sure she went potty first.
On the way to the play area there were several encounters with fur parents walking their dogs and she approached every one of them I would allow. I’ve had to teach her to ask permission and wait for a response. Trying to teach her how to safely approach all dogs and to respect the answers, even when it isn’t what she wants to hear is an ongoing process.
We finally arrived at the playground and I sat on the bench with her stuffed horse she’d taken to school for nap time, while she ran from play structure to play structure, fearlessly taking it as her due that any adult in her vicinity was there for her to ask for their help, regardless of whether they were already occupied. She decided to play on the teeter totter and when no one was available to see-saw with her, she figured out how to play on it by herself, using it as a tilting balance beam. She became a leader of the pack when two other kids joined her on the teeter totters on either side of her.
I was so fascinated and enamoured of her I shared this comment on social media:
“At the park with my mommy hat on, watching my Princess Tomboy be fierce and fearless. Can we bottle that energy, curiosity, and confidence?”
It reminds me of an encounter between Jesus, his disciples, and some children.
Mark 10:13-16 HCSB
Some people were bringing little children to Him so He might touch them, but His disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me. Don’t stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” After taking them in His arms, He laid His hands on them and blessed them.
Children are not simply innocent of the ways of this world. They are curious, fearless, focused on what makes them happy, willing to take risks, try new things, and expect the best of those around them. At least that’s how they are before the learn from painful and harsh experiences this life has a tendency to teach.
What if we approached God, each other, and our lives in these ways, today? Do you think we might enter the kingdom of Heaven while experiencing this life on earth?