I am told “Just wait until you have kids. You have no idea what you’re in for.”
Everyone was right, I had no idea the two ‘kids’ I would meet would become the greatest teachers and truth-sayers I know.
They never hesitate to teach me a lesson, especially when I need it the most.
Since youngest of them was two years of age, she dive bombs me with wisdom when I least expect it.
Here are my favorites, five universal truths from my five year old.
1. Love is un-definable.
Her warm, sticky hand wrapped around my neck. She pulled me close with the force of a grown man and latched both arms around me. She pressed her lips to my ear.
“I love you. I love you so much I don’t have any words to tell you how much. I can’t tell you how much I love you, because it’s too much. I will love you forever and ever.”
She knew what I forget on occasion—love is indescribable and un-definable. When we love without expectation, the feelings become so vast they can’t be contained and it does feel just like that, like it’s too much.
I feel this way often. Trying to define and explain the love I have for my daughters and loved ones in my life, is like trying to eat the sunset; it is impossible.
As we grow, we are taught to define everything in our lives including our feelings and we forget love, just like the sunset, is meant to be appreciated and accepted as it is.
As I tucked her in that night, I told her, “I know how you feel, because I love you too.”
2. The heart is made of God.
A while ago during dinnertime,she hopped down from her chair and walked over to me. I could tell she had something pressing to share because she never abandoned her buttered pasta for anyone or anything.
She tugged on my shirt, “can I tell you something? Today I saw your heart.”
“You did? What did my heart look like?”
“It looked like God.”
I remember being speechless. I will never forget that day; it was a hard day. I was overwhelmed, sad and stressed. she was reminding me, although I was upset and felt as though I was failing, my heart wasn’t and never could fail. God was still there—perfect, pure, patient and loving; completely visible to her.
That day, she taught me, despite my mood or poor decision making that I am sacred; we all are because, “God dwells within us, as us.”
3. Protect your heart.
A couple of months ago, She was coloring,she peeled a sticker from her book and turned to me.
“can I put this sticker on your heart?”
“why are you putting a sticker on my heart?”
“Because God needs shade.”
We are responsible for protecting our hearts. she taught me that an open heart does not mean an unprotected heart. The heart is fragile and innocent.
The heart needs a guardian, just like children need us ,to watch over them and ensure they remain safe.
If they run out of sight, we call them back into view. we never allow them to walk away with strangers. If they wander into the street, we grab their hands and pull them back to the sidewalk (They do not (yet) have the experience, understanding or strength to navigate the outside world on their own. They need our guidance).
The heart (where God resides) is an eternal child. She needs our critical mind and intuition to assess a safe situation from a harmful one. She needs us to protect her and give God some shade.
4. Be authentic.
Recently, we were eating. she was picking at her pizza like lint on a sweater.
“What are you doing?”
“I don’t like the black part . I’m picking it off.”
I snatched the piece off her plate and tossed it in my mouth, ‘This is the best part!”
she put down her slice of pizza and calmly replied,
“if everyone liked the same things we couldn’t tell us apart, and if we all looked the same we couldn’t tell us apart either.”
She picked up her pizza and took a bite.
The diatribe in my mind sounded like this, “Oh snap, she just schooled me! Shame on me! I talk everyday about embracing individuality and respecting others as they are with no judgment. Here I am ‘telling’ her what’s good and not honoring how she feels.”
I apologized to her that evening. I reminded her that I respect her as she is.I encouraged her to always express what she likes and doesn’t like, because that is what makes her, her.
Her lesson is two fold. We should strive to be honest and unashamed of expressing the truth, because it strengthens our authenticity. Secondly, it is vital we respect each other, even if it is respecting someone’s dislike of the burnt part of the pizza, because that’s love—honoring each other’s differences.
5. We receive what we give.
“What was your high today?”
“Making the gingerbread man.”
“That’s fun. What was your low today?”
“Sassy (name changed) was being mean to me. She always says she doesn’t want to play with me.”
“I’m sorry. What do you do when she says that?”
“I say, “That’s not nice to say, and I’m still nice to her.””
She paused, pulled her arms out from under her blankets and just like my grandmother would do to me, she cradled my face in both of her hands, her blue eyes caught the light from the hallway.
“I know something. If you are kind, you always get kindness back.”
“Where did you hear that honey?”
“Nowhere, it’s just the truth.”
It is the truth— we recieve what we give, in feeling, in action, in thought, in prayer, and in life, so be kind.
I think if she could understand, she would want you to remember to always be kind, be yourself, protect your heart, remember you are sacred, and always love ‘too much forever and ever.