Kaylee told AJ a story about wanting to invite a kid in her class to her birthday party next year. AJ asked her why she would invite this particular kid as he was typically not a very nice little guy. “Mean” is the way Kaylee has put it in the past. Without hesitation Kaylee said she wants to invite him because nobody else in the class invites him to birthday parties and she wants him to be included.
After our hearts finished fluttering uncontrollably at the naked beauty of that statement, I realized that all of the other things I was chewing on today (watching a stranger open a door, unprovoked, for a woman in a wheelchair, another lady holding the door open for me as I entered the movie theater this afternoon) while trying to land on what I’m most thankful for all coalesced into one main thought or idea. Today I’m thankful for the sheer compassion and unbridled acceptance children have for all things.
Before they become bogged down with all the things that our society and their environments want them to believe, children are a blank slate of wonder and curiosity. Before they learn how to be angry at everything, before they are taught by fear mongers to be scared of everything they see, before they are made to believe they aren’t good enough, children have an innate ability to see the good in all things. They have a better grasp on forgiveness and humility than any adult I’ve ever met. It’s not until we’re taught to be embarrassed or ashamed that we begin to lose those amazing qualities.
A simple, brief, anecdote about an interaction Kaylee had with a difficult boy in her class reminded me to be thankful for what our children can teach us: if we can learn to just get over ourselves, our egos, and maybe just for a brief moment remember what it was like to look at the world through those eyes, all of our experiences could be so much more fulfilling. We could shed the weight of the negative baggage we carry. We could realize we are carrying most of it out of spite for ourselves or some misunderstood feeling of persecution that only WE see of ourselves. The biggest enemy you will face in this life is you. If we can learn from the innocence of children then we can learn to truly love who we are and love each other as well.
Today I’m thankful that I have children who can keep me humbled.