Let The Little Ones Come

Thursday, September 4, 2014 @ 12:30 PM

Some of us grew up too soon.
Some of us grew up too soon because there weren’t any “real” adults around—there was a vacuum of leadership and care. Others grew up too soon because it was safer. Being a child was too scary, too unsafe, too vulnerable. Still others grew up too soon because, for whatever reason, we mistakenly believed we “needed to be the grown–up.” We misread “reality” and stepped into being the grown–up when it really wasn’t necessary or even possible.
Becoming aware of our life–long survival strategies is a significant first step. Without awareness there can be no movement towards change.
For some of us, “being the adult” is how we control our world—always, everywhere, non–stop, to the greatest degree—the thought of letting go of that role, even for a moment, may be daunting.
What if you started practicing saying “hello” to that small child who grew up too fast, too hard, too seriously?
In my own journey, I made (and still make) intentional choices to welcome that small child to come out and play. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  1. Find some old photos of yourself as a child. Make color copies and put it in your wallet or purse to remind you this part of your heart still exists.
  2. Do something child–like and practice enjoying it:
    • Jump in a puddle (without boots!)
    • Play on playground equipment
    • Finger paint…on the floor…get a little messy!
  3. Frame a photo of yourself as a child. Regularly practice looking at it and allow yourself to connect to compassion. If you are a praying person, perhaps pray, “God, help me connect more to this little boy/girl today.” Or simply say out loud, “I’m willing to connect more to you today.”

Note: If you’re having a negative reaction to these suggestions, it could reflect the hiddenness of this child–like part of your heart. Similarly, it may reveal how deeply refreshing and helpful it could be to try one of these “welcomings.”

John Baldwin is fond of saying, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” Why not start the journey today…

Kathryn Ray