This morning my daughter, who was exploring our backyard, shouted, “Look at this roly poly. It’s huge!”
She brought the fat roly poly over for me to see and said “Want to hold it?” And, I did. I then wished I was as excited as she was about finding this giant pill bug (Did you know they’re really crustaceans?).
Yet, even though I don’t shout and squeal when I find a roly poly, I am beginning to understand their appeal. In fact, as a child, I remember feeling the same awe and wonder about roly polies. And I realized that, somewhere along the way in my parenting journey, my children’s joy has become my joy; or perhaps I’m just learning to embrace my inner child a little more. I might not get wide-eyed when I’m given a gooey s’more. I might not jump up and down when I find out I’m going camping in my backyard. Still, my children’s zest for the simple things in life has definitely rubbed off on me. I’m happy to find a roly poly because I know it makes them excited. I’m happy to make funny face pancakes because it brightens their day. I’m not living through them but they have taught me to appreciate God’s splendor…. whether it be the intricate nature of a spider web or the perfect symmetry of a butterfly’s wings.
Adults, and unfortunately many children, are exposed to high levels of cynicism. On a daily basis, we read about murder, corruption and evil in the news. For some, these atrocities are closer to home. And yes, we need teach our children to be wary of strangers and be on their guard in a fallen world. Yet, we also need to support their innate ability to appreciate the simple things in life.
Whether they are running through sprinklers or chasing after birds, children embrace life to the fullest. I spend a lot of time trying to teach my kids manners, rules and know-how. Yet, through their love and wide-eyed wonder, they have taught me some of life’s biggest lessons. If I can embrace life like my children do, I’ll probably be a lot happier in the long run.
P.S. Don't worry, we returned all the pill bugs back to where we found them.