Lesson from a toddler

When was the last time you were fully present with an infant or toddler? I’ve had the privilege of babysitting a grandson many times during his first 16 months. With an intention of “full attention” to him, I’ve learned so much! But one lesson stands out and bears repeating and practicing elsewhere in my life:

the child loves … and assumes you are good, loving, helpful

The young child looks to the caretaker without judgment, in total trust, and assumes the best. The child knows his needs matter and that he will be cared for. The innocence of the child assumes innocence in the adult until sufficient reason for distrust is displayed.

I wonder: What would be different if I went about my days assuming the best in people? What if I trusted that you want to help me, to love? What if I saw you as my grandson sees me: a person who truly wants me to be happy, well and cared for? Whether you are the store clerk, employer, teacher, friend or stranger: what if I assume you are Love in the broadest sense of the word?

From that perspective, I imagine soft, gentle moments, greater connection, more ease. I imagine joy and lightness of spirit replacing fear and caution.

What about you? Take a moment before racing back to your activities to wonder:

Where do I assume the best in others?
Where do I assume the worst?
Where do I begin with distrust?

What adjustment am I willing to try today?

2 Replies to “Lesson from a toddler”

  1. I love these reflections too, Jeanne. The joy of children can remind us that we were all once children; we were all that trusting, loving, and curious. And my sense is that we can still access that place in us if we’re willing to do a little work to find it! The child is father to the man, wrote Wordsworth. We have much to learn from earlier selves if we can tap into them. Thank you …

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