You’ve heard the old expression “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes,” right? We all take that to heart when we’re frustrated or annoyed by what someone does. Essentially, we’re aware that since we don’t know what someone is going through that caused them to act a certain way, we should cut them some slack.
Today I want to take that idiom and apply it somewhat differently. Think about it this way – walk a mile in your child’s shoes. What does life look like from their perspective? Oh how I would love to literally see everything through Will’s eyes and to actually remember what it’s like to experience and be in awe of the created world for the first time.
Last week I took Will on a walk – a mile walk to be exact. I decided to let him have the exhausting freedom of walking on his own without the stroller, thinking that we would turn around as soon as he grew tired from the hard work. Well, the little guy surprised me and we were able to make it the full mile loop through our neighborhood! I had the enjoyment of seeing the world (neighborhood) from Will’s perspective as we ambled along together.
We stopped at every storm drain to peer inside. We jumped in every puddle. Every bird, squirrel, and rabbit was pointed at. All dogs were barked at, and, if they came close enough, were touched with loving enthusiasm. Trucks (and trucks only) were greeted with an excited and squeaky “vroom vroom!” Every single person – in a car – walking – running – gardening – got a hello wave and a goodbye wave. The word “WOAH” was repeated again and again. Sticks were picked up and played with. This walk – this twenty-minute one-mile loop took us an hour to complete. An hour filled with exclamation, delight, and wonder as Will explored the world around him. To me, this walk was beautiful as I was forced to slow down and appreciate the seemingly little wonders around me. A mile-walk with Will gifted me the freedom of slowing down and seeing the world through the appreciative eyes of a toddler. This was a gift indeed.
Life moves at a rapid pace. I know that. We all have so much to do, and no matter what we try to cut out, the days can still seem full in an overwhelming sense. Even when we eliminate the “unnecessaries” we still have so much “necessary” to fit in. So, I know it’s hard to slow down. And yet, I want to encourage you to do just that. Slow down for a moment – an hour – a day. Spend some time in your child’s shoes. Try to see what they see and delight in what delights them. I’m not a medical expert so I won’t list off the health benefits of slowing down. But I know they exist. I’m not a parenting expert so I won’t detail all the good ways this can strengthen your relationship with your child. But I know it happens.
Slow down, friend, whenever possible. Take a few moments to view the world through your child’s eyes. You may find yourself increasingly thankful and in greater awe of the many marvels around you.