Curiosity : Inspiration from Family Day at Spirit Rock

{image by permission of dominique nom de plume, found on flickr - click here}

Imagine a room with 100 adults.

Imagine a room with 100 adults and 15 teenagers.

Imagine a room with 100 adults, 15 teenagers and 45 children.

Imagine a room with 100 adults, 15 teenagers, 45 children and 5 toddlers.

Imagine a room with 100 adults, 15 teenagers, 45 children, 5 toddlers and 1 baby.

Now imagine it quiet for about 4 minutes, maybe even longer.

Had I not been there myself, I would never have believed that it was possible to quiet so abundant a crowd, let alone one where the nugget and several other bouncing little boys were in attendance. But indeed, even the nugget melted into his dad's arms as we sat and simply paid attention to our breath.

It was joyful and almost a bit strange to feel the vibrant energy of youth and families at Spirit Rock on Sunday, a place that for me is usually eerily silent, reserved and introverted. This was our first Family Day, and though we did not make it to the end of the day, it was a profoundly important reminder of what is possible. Children can listen. Children can breathe. Children can express their feelings. Children can be heard. Parents can listen. Parents can breathe. Parents can express their feelings. Parents can be heard.

I didn't leave on Sunday with an idyllic version of unrealistic family life that will never mean raised voices or short tempers or unkind words. I left instead with a renewed sense of how I could parent, even a toddler whose blossoming personality and attachment to just about anything he is not supposed to have has been pushing me to the edge of my patience, tolerance and compassion. I left instead with the word curious in my mind (as it was the theme of the day) and I wonder how the concept of being curious could get me past this somewhat challenging milestone called toddlerhood. I realized, it is the nugget's deep curiosity for all that is new and out of reach and enticing and alluring that is causing me the most frustration. Oh the irony.

So tomorrow I will ask myself this: Can I be just as curious as he is? Can we be curious together and still get lunch on the table?

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