December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?
I spent 14 weeks completing my last clinical rotation for nursing school at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. CHOP, as it is unfortunately known, is a bit like Willy Wonka’s candy factory – few individuals are privileged to enter into a world where sheer medical magic takes place.
It seems that the world is divided into two groups: those that love and those that loathe children. The latter dismiss tiny humans as sniveling, whining, parasitic-like creatures who are infernally irrational and suck the joy out of life for those of us over 4 feet tall. We’ve all seen the caustic looks directed towards the exasperated parent in the grocery store or airport as they try to wrangle and uncooperative child into submission.
I am always amused by how quickly we forget that we were once children. Undoubtedly, we were all ill-behaved children at some points. I am frustrated by the fact that we expect children to act as though they are abstract-thinking adults. I am incensed by how quick we are to blame parents and consider them poor caregivers or disciplinarians*.
*I will concede that, yes, there are some rather maladjusted children, but this is not the norm. I will also concede that there are rather terrible, ill-prepared and ill-equipped parents.
Children are amazing, wonderful, mystical little creatures.
They understand much more than we ever give them credit for.
They are empathetic to a fault.
They are resilient and able to adapt rather quickly to change.
They have intelligence and wisdom beyond their minimal years on earth.
They feel everything acutely and completely.
They give wholeheartedly.
They love unconditionally.
They accept willingly.
I have had the benefit of having been able to care for infants and toddlers and teenagers and 3 hours per week of a behavior and development lecture to make me fully aware of the wonder of children. Others, though, might see the same things I do if they slowed down to accept children for who they are – a constantly changing constellation of thoughts, ideas, organic biological and psychological processes. They are works-in-progress; construction zones that say “please pardon our mess” as they bumble their way toward adulthood.
When someone tells me that they don’t like children, I am inclined to suspect that their dislike has less to do with any actual child and everything to do with themselves. That’s what makes me really wonder.