Boldly running towards life, even if there are nettles along the way: the things we can learn from our children.
Probably, all my columns for Happinez are eulogies to children. This one definitely is.
A while ago, we were at our usual picknick spot. My youngest daughter was walking in front. We let her, because we were packing our stuff and leaving. When she arrived at a bush, a big dog came up to her, and another one, six in total. Six big Polish Huskies gathered around her. She was startled by these -from her perspective- monsters, and started crying. One of the dogs barked, startling her even more. She wanted to run, but she doesn't really know how to run yet, so she fell, face down in the nettles.
We picked her up, she kept crying for a bit, and all the while she kept saying ‘Og! Og!’ pointing at the dogs. The animals had meant her no harm, they lost all interest in the little creature and left, one by one. I think that apart from scary, she also found them intriguing.
Thankful to the dogs
It didn’t take long before she was calm again. I, myself, I was mainly thankful to the dogs for not eating her. Red lumps appeared on her face from the nettles. But she was distracted and babbling about other things.
And that’s when it came to my mind: the resilience of a child is something most grown ups can’t beat. My children are constantly covered in bruises and lumps, cuts and nettle stings, from frolicking, falling and bumping in to things. A print from a bicycle chain, a dark purple stain from an accident with a wooden slingshot. A dislocated ankle, a bloody nose, the gazillionth lump on the head. One day, we even went to the first-aid after a dive in the pool. I look at all of it as a sign of health, of being outside a lot. They play, they’re not afraid to fall.
Chest out, no fear
Everything heals. And long before it has, they’ll go on to the next adventure that will probably hurt them sooner or later – literally or figuratively. But they go, boldly and enthousiastically as ever. Chest out, without any fear. Even if there are nettles. I want to live like that, too.
Text: Pauline Bijster