It’s tough being a kid. Many of us think that we’d love to go back to the time in our lives when play was at the center of everything we did.
But in reality, being a child is a time filled with just trying to figure out how to, and who to, be.
As the world becomes seemingly more uncertain every day, here are some simple (and necessary) things the next generation needs from us to help them navigate life in the best way possible.
Five Things Every Child Needs to See, Hear, Touch, Smell, and Taste Every Day
A child needs to experience beauty in as many ways possible. Every day.
These days mindfulness is a buzz word, but I am going to talk about an easy, and very beneficial, way you can add a little mindfulness, joy, hope, and a lot of beauty to your life every day.
Now more than ever we all need to be reminded of beauty. There is so much out there. Even in the midst of terrible things, beauty can be found. We may not be ready to allow it to eclipse the negativity, but by noticing beauty in all its forms and holding on to it, we hold on to hope. Hope is what allows us to eventually be ready to move past the negativity.
Recognizing and holding on to beauty is very important.
Beauty is everywhere. It is a daily gift we have to be taught to appreciate.
Show children where beauty exists these five ways:
I was boarding a plane this week and there was a narrow opening between the plane and the walkway extended to meet the plane. In this very narrow opening, I looked over my shoulder and I saw two little girls playing in a window inside of the airport. They were small, close to each other, and as happy as they could be. Playing some kind of hand game- just the way two children should be- and I was reminded that there is beauty in the world.
This happens to me a lot. Sitting at a traffic light and I look up to see a little child I don’t know waving to me from a school bus. Two birds building a nest- together. A butterfly in full color. The smile from my own children.
A rainbow. A new day. A gigantic tree that reminds me that things, including me, can make it through terrible storms and bitter cold and still bloom every year for decades. We need to teach our children to see beauty in the simplicity of life.
There is beauty within earshot in all areas of life. Music of all kinds. With the stories it tells. The beauty of a poetic lyric, the weaving of many instruments and the soul of the person who put it all together.
Within hearing laughter and knowing its healing power. Even during the times when I can’t, hearing the laughter of others reminds me that I will one day again.
Birds and insects. Especially when there are many different species all going at once. It reminds me that there is room for all of us.
The wind. The rain. A car horn. Yes, even a car horn I find beauty in. Isn’t it neat that we have so many ways to communicate with each other? Communication is not a bad thing. I imagine that the horn is a helpful warning not to run into someone, not the more typical warning we tend to associate with it- that someone is angry. I am thankful for the heads up of the horn.
And say it. Say you are beautiful. Because we are.
A stranger who holds the door for you, a hug from someone you are happy to see, one hand on top of another during a talk.
I am grateful for all of these things. But I also find beauty in curling up in a blanket, holding on to a warm mug, the sun on my skin, the water in a tub, pulling weeds and getting my hands dirty. We need to let children absorb and be aware of the beauty in all of that.
Coffee, hot chocolate, pizza. My mother’s nightgown. My favorite book. Little hands. Clothes right out of the dryer. The ocean spray. Home. The rain—all of things can remind us of beauty. These are mine. What are yours? Teach your children to hold on to these. Recognize them as special. Write them down on a postcard and place it in a book.
Your favorite meal. I don’t have to tell you how much beauty you’ll find in that! So many tastes we have the pleasure of experiencing. Something so simple and beautiful as water. Clean and bright water. Ice cubes. Ice cream! Yes, ice cream! My favorite. But what about just a piece of bread? How magical and special and beautiful bread is. Bake a loaf of bread with your family and you will experience the beauty of all five of the areas I listed above. There is beauty in the bread we have been blessed with.
Bread is life and life, is hard. Not for all of us in the same way, but for all of us in some way, and what will get you through the difficult times is understanding just how unique and special this experience that is your life is. I have never wanted my life to end, but I have wanted to go to not be here anymore. Ugliness will wear you out and grind you down and when you are young you are ill-equipped to put the ugliness of another in the context of your own life. You may just convince yourself that you are too tired, and the struggle is just too much, to go on.
It is during these times you will have to call on beauty in all of its forms, in all of the areas of your life. Be mindful of beauty. It is there. I promise you. We have to teach all of the children in our lives to hold on to this too because when they are confused, lost, sad or lonely it will be these thoughts that will pull us through to the other side. Show them beauty, in all of its many forms, every day.