On a recent vacation with my family, I noticed a little girl playing on the beach. She was adorable, with bright eyes and a permanent smile. Her mom told me that she had just turned one, and was all about exploring the world. Several days later, I watched the little girl as she walked down the beach holding her father’s hand. She walked along the water’s edge, squealing each time the water gently lapped her feet.
As they walked, I noticed that the little girl constantly reached down and tried to touch the sand. Each time she came close, but her father, unaware of her efforts, gently pulled her little body upright and continued their walk. Determined, the little girl continued to reach, each time being pulled away. Two things struck me with this scenario. First, the little girl kept that sweet smile on her face the entire time, and second, she never gave up trying. She was curious and wanted to touch the sand. Her dad, however, was oblivious to her intentions, and continued along with the walk. He never looked down at her to see what she was pulling towards.
When the two returned to their beach chairs, the dad dropped his daughter’s hand and joined the rest of his family in conversation. I watched as the little girl instantly dropped her body so her hands could finally delve deep into the sand that she had so diligently tried to touch. Within seconds she was squealing with delight, and playing with the sand as though it was the most exciting experience she had ever had. Still, the father or any other adult around her never noticed.
This reminded me of how the world viewed through our children’s eyes is much different from our own adult perspective. Children recognize the beauty and excitement of the simplest things. They aren’t deterred by a simple “no” when they are drawn by their curiosity to explore or experience something new. They are naturally filled with joy and appreciation for the world around them. How quickly we, as adults, fail to realize this and pull them back into our “real world” and on to the next task.
My takeaway from this was to step back and allow my children to touch the sand, literally and figuratively. If we all did this, maybe we could also have a permanent smile on our faces and live a more joyful life. Let’s all try to view the world, if just for a few moments a day, through the eyes of a child.