NBC, CBS, FOX, NPR… Our eyes are glued to a world caught in the grip of seismic change. For most there is anxiety, for some it rises to fear and even panic, others are fixed with disbelief and disgust. This is not a time given over to the more moderate and passive emotions. But what about the children. What does this life appear like through their eyes.
Recall if you will life as a 7 year old. The first 2-3 years are a haze of dim recollections, virtually no solid memories. The entire conscious experience of that child is compressed into a span of 4 years. Through the eyes of that child it takes FOREVER until the next Easter, birthday, or Christmas arrives! Those events will have only occurred 4 times in her memory, only celebrated at that point every quarter of her lifetime.
Put into perspective: I will soon celebrate my 68th birthday. For me birthdays are separated by only 1/68th of my lifetime… only 1.5 percent of my life now passes each year. For the 7 year old a year feels nearly 17 times longer. When a 7 year old looks back to when he turned 6 it is the equivalent of me looking back to when I was 50. Imagine the span of time and the experiences that occurred from then until now and then understand that this is what 12 months presents for that 7 year old child.
We live in a time of uncertainty that will pass and then normalize within the next 1 or 2 years. However, for the children a year or two can permanently define a childhood.
A child wakes in the night gripped with fear. Clutching a blanket to her cheek she wanders uncertainly into her parent’s bedroom. “Mommy, I heard a noise and I think it came from under my bed.” The mother gently raises her head from the pillow and with the lilt of a knowing smile screams, “SNAKES, I KNEW IT!! THERE ARE SNAKES UNDER YOUR BED!!!”
Absurd? Isn’t that what we do when in the presence of our children we glue ourselves to every “Breaking News” story? Do our children have the capacity to understand the anger, frustration, and fear that their trusted adults mouth? There is another option.
Recently I have witnessed afternoons where children are taking walks with their parents. They play ball together in the yard. One gentleman was building a fire in his yard that might serve to toast marshmallows and perhaps make “Someores” this evening. Parents are listening to their children’s questions and answering them. Neighborhoods are being rediscovered by parents through the eyes of their children and children through the eyes of their parents. These fortunate children and their fortunate parents may remember this as a time when life went on hold and it was a gift that will be remembered and shared as… “I remember back when your great-grandfather and I…”
Peace Everyone. Pete
PS: I share this wonderful and timely bit of prose written by Kitty O’Meara:
“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”