My three-year-old, Willow, regularly has love fests with whomever is around.
These love fests usually contain a handful of the following enthusiastic declarations:
I love my Mommy and Daddy! I’m going to live here with you forever, even when I’m old! I’m never going to move out!
I love everyone in the world, even the people I don’t know yet!
I love my brother so much! Miller is such a cutie baby! He’s my favorite baby eve,r and he came to live with me!
I’m so happy! I’m never going to be sad again!
Aw, look at Buddha (our dog)…she’s so cute! I am so glad this is our doggie! Look how much she loves me! (Despite all evidence to the contrary, as Willow smothers her with kisses).
I love our planet. I can’t believe I don’t even feel us spinning around! Our planet is so smart!
I’m always going to be nice to people. When I grow up, I’m going to be everyone’s friend. Even if they don’t want to be my friend, I’m going to be nice to them anyway!
I’m always looking at my child’s experience with an eye on what all humans are naturally inclined to experience. Kids show us our default programming. They expose the nature of the human operating system, before we have downloaded a million programs and apps that slow things down in adulthood.
I don’t have much experience with three-year-olds other than my own, so I have no idea if this is typical behavior—I assume it is.
Willow’s love fests are clearly her natural well-being and innate connection to all of life shining through. They strike randomly, at times when she’s not particularly busy or doesn’t seem to have much on her mind. They often occur when we’re on our afternoon walk, sitting around the dinner table, or in the car.
The sentiments spill out of little Willow because, like all three-year-olds, she doesn’t have a filter. Her words aren’t thought-generated. She isn’t trying to think positively. This isn’t Willow’s attempt at a gratitude list or some practice she has put into place.
This is her natural state.
This is our natural state, too. Our love fest outbursts may not occur in the same way as Willow’s, but they do occur to us in our own way. Although ego kicks in and filters much of what adults say, when we let our guard down, we sound more like Willow than we realize (ooh-ing and ahh-ing over a sunset, professing our undying love to a kitten or newborn).
When our natural state shines through, we love our planet, our world, and our favorite people just the same. The content doesn’t matter, only the feeling. As long as we feel it, we are there.
We can be just as in love with life as a child, even if it looks and sounds differently—I know I am.
As I’m writing this article, I can hear Willow downstairs telling her Daddy, “You are my favorite Daddy in my whole life!”
Let us not compare ourselves to Willow, but begin to look for our own love fests to bubble up. They will; we only have to notice.
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Asst. Ed. Kerrie Shebiel/Ed: Bryonie Wise