Today we had the opportunity to take Little One to a play area for a quick visit. During that time, he made several friends, such as Mr. Duck. About fifteen minutes into our playtime, a child entered with his father. This little boy began to excitedly play on the
equipment while his father interacted with him. Little One insisted on following them around and making sure to wave “hello” to them until they responded (this is becoming a routine with him and he will keep trying until the stranger interacts). The other little boy seemed a little taken back by the fact that this younger child was following him around, but things remained positive. A few minutes later, the young child’s mother entered the area and so Little One proceeded to go over and greet her as well. She warmly responded and spoke with Little One for a while. During this time, Little One waddled around the equipment and continued to observe the older child in close proximity. And without fail, he would eventually find his way back to this child’s mother and proceed to hold onto her leg, or rest his head in her lap. At one point she kindly asked if we were okay with him holding onto her, to which we gave our consent, adding in as long as she was okay with it as well. Little One interacted with this family as if we had been friends with them for his entire life, versus the strangers that they were according to society’s definitions. These behaviors continued for the length of our stay and eventually we said “goodbye” and departed.
As I reflected on this short interaction, I was reminded of a goal that I gave to myself a few months ago;
in public areas, I am trying to become more interactive with the strangers around me. I have two things working in my favor here. Number One, having a little child apparently makes nearly everyone want to strike up a conversation with you. Number Two, my husband automatically possesses this trait due to his childhood environment and is constantly greeting strangers on the street in a manner that is transparently genuine. However, these two benefits still have to fight against my uncomfortable internal reaction when I am around strangers, and my concern that people will perceive my gesture in the wrong manner. I’m working hard at reaching this goal and, personally, I think I have made some decent strides. Today, as I watched Little One do his typical, care-free, interactions with strangers (who also respond in an encouraging way), I was inspired to continue working towards my own goal. Yet another example of how I am raising a child, who at times is also my teacher. He encourages me and models behaviors for me. God is using my son to grow me in ways I never imagined, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Ahmeli… that we break down walls that can prohibit others from teaching us the lessons we are meant to learn.
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