I’ve written extensively about my love for my grandsons and about what I feel our children and grandchildren can teach us about life. As adults we tend to lose our ability to be awestruck by the simple things or to trust others unconditionally. We feel we have to understand and analyze everything we see and hear. We hold grudges and succumb to anger when we should just let it go and move on with our lives. I’m convinced that in order to truly appreciate the gift of life, we must embrace the sense of awe and innocence we all had as children.
Last Sunday night, as I carried my 4 year old grandson to to his mom’s car, I pointed out the stars in the sky and tried to explain to him that the light we were seeing from some of the stars was from stars that had blown up millions of years ago. His reply, clothed in an innocence that can only come from a child, was “did they blow up like a puffer fish PopPop?” I rely on the words and expressions of my 4 year old grandson, my life coach, when life throws me a lemon and I need to recenter. He doesn’t know it yet, but he is the greatest teacher I have ever had.
He also doesn’t know that thousands of unborn children are killed every day in the country he is growing up in. He doesn’t know that his PopPop is committed to ending the practice of abortion and to leaving him and his little brother a world where every child is safe, from the moment of conception. I hope that my work plays a part in changing minds and creating a world where children are held in reverence, and I hope that one day both my grandsons will know that they were my inspiration.
The lessons we can learn about life, from the perspective of an innocent child, are the lessons we can use to make the world a better place. They serve as our teachers, with no agenda and no biases. They share their wisdom freely, happy to accept nothing other than a hug for their services. All they need as teachers is for us to be willing students. In a prior piece titled The Teacher, I quoted an ancient Zen Proverb that stated “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” My teacher appeared 4 years ago. I was ready to accept his teachings, and use them daily as I strive to be a better person and to serve my fellow man.
These days, when the world seems to be crumbling around me, I focus on my time in the presence of my teacher and gain comfort in knowing that he will change the world. My resolve to do my part is totally dependent on the lessons I learn from a 4 year old child, and nothing I could ever do for him could ever repay him for what he has done for me.