Listen to the kids

When my children were small I had a notebook in which I would write down some of the cute things that they said. For example, the time my son asked “why do you have beard on your arms daddy?” or the time my daughter rolled her eyes back as far as she could and exclaimed in disappointment “I just can’t see my eyebrows!”. But as well as being entertaining some of the things they said were actually quite insightful and poignant. When someone recently shared a video of kids being asked what it meant to be kind, some of the answers were really quite profound. It got me thinking about how as we get older we sometimes make things unnecessarily complicated when to children they seem straightforward. Children see the world through very different eyes to adults. As adults we have been shaped and damaged by life experiences and although these are unique for each of us, we all have something of cynicism, prejudice and pain in the lens through which we view things. Children often speak with a refreshing honesty too, saying things we would be too embarrassed to say, and seeing straight to the heart of a situation when we may have to peel back layers of assumption and expectation to reach the same point. Maybe listening to what children have to say sometimes, can help remind us of what is really important.

I listened to a child today
She spoke with a wisdom that belied her years
And gifted me her insight.

I listened to a child today
She spoke with the reasoning of innocence
And opened my jaded eyes

I listened to a child today
She spoke with a compassion that shamed me
But filled me with such bright hope

I listened to a child today
She spoke of such wondrous possibilities
And made me pause and ponder

I listened to a child today
She showed me everything I could become
And gave me desire to fly

Dismay

You try so hard to bind my tongue
At times I can hardly breathe
Your hand is clasped so tightly over my mouth.
Confined in your embrace
Your warm breath on my cheek sends shivers down my spine

But do not mistake my inaction for fear
Do not take my hush for dread

I am ready to rage and wail at the top of my voice
I am ready to scream and flail and fight
I will not be silenced
I will not allow you to still my voice
Though you may grasp at me ever tighter
And squeeze the very life breath from my lungs
I will kick, I will punch
I will grapple with the bonds you have drawn about me.
My voice must be heard.
My voice will be heard.
Though my strength may at times fail me,
I will not concede
I will not kowtow to your pride and self importance

Enfolded in your arms I will squirm and claw
Emboldened by your arrogance I will strain and wrestle
And I will break free
I will find space
To draw breath enough to fill my lungs to bursting
And when I raise my head and forcefully release
No sound will come
For my silence is of my own making