Child’s Play; Adult Necessity

2009/10/22 at 12:49 PM 2 comments

Have you ever sat and watched children get to know one another? Have you heard the types of conversations that come about while they innocently engage in play? Do you remember just how easy it was to make friends when you were little? It was as simple as asking another child of choice, “will you be my new best friend?” If only it were that easy now-at 35.

When Super-girl and I were in our play dating phase I had an eye opening opportunity to witness the natural development of a childhood relationship involving her and a local neighbourhood boy. It was interesting, while simultaneously both admirable and alarming just how candid, bold, and uninhibited children really are.  To me it was a painful revelation of how it must feel to be a child of a divorce. Although, how the encounter panned out it would seem I was the only one feeling this way. Children truly are fascinating souls, mature beyond what we give them credit for and perhaps even a model we should consider learning from.

My neighbourhood was a little low on kids Super-girl’s age. There was one local child, he was an older boy of 8 years-whom I have known since he was about four. Initially I was a little leery about whether or not Super-girl would want to play-because he was a boy. Then after about 3 seconds I realized that with kids it doesn’t matter whether they are boy or girl, to them it is just someone to play with. Being a single gal at the time I was not privy to such schoolyard etiquette.  My job allows me to see and work with children but it is more about medicine time than play time. So I was quite surprised by how much children are like mini-adults. They met, I introduced them (they even shook hands), they sized each other up, offered up what they would like to do, then compromised on a game of tag and off they went to play-We had a great time. When we were all exhausted from running around the yard playing; a simple conversation began over lemonade.

The boy from next-door inquired when he would be able to play with Super-girl again. When she explained that it would be on the next week that she with her father the boy said quite frankly, “Oh, your one of those divorced kids!” Super-girl placed her hands on her hips, and if looks could kill-from a 5 year old, that boy would have burned up before my eyes. My initial instinct was to intervene and say the boy was out of line; I didn’t. I let the chips fall where they may, so to speak, and the fall out was truly amazing.

In the blink of an eye the boy from next-door realized that he had said something wrong and hurtful, he immediately said that he was sorry. He elaborated that he didn’t mean anything by it, he knew because of a divorce he would only get to see her every couple of weeks. Super-girl said, “Yeah you are right. Next week I am with my Mom and then the week after that I will be with my Papa and Ella again-I will see you then!” We said our goodbyes and went home. As we were walking she said to me, “I don’t usually play with boys but he was nice, and I can’t wait to play tag with him again!”

If only as adults we could learn not to take things personally and notice when something said needed compassion, clarification or an apology. If only as adults we weren’t so jaded and quick to pull from sour memories with our reactions to the things people say or do. In that precise moment I felt like Super-girl and the boy next-door were mature beyond their years, more mature than many of the people I encounter on a daily basis, more mature than I have been in similar situations-I have held on to this, because I strive to learn from it.

There is a phenomenal book I read about six years ago by Miguel Ruiz called The Four Agreements. It speaks of how we should learn to live and love from the best of our souls. “Everything we do is based on agreements we have made – agreements with ourselves, with other people, with God, with life. But the most important agreements are the ones we make with ourselves. In these agreements we tell ourselves who we are, how to behave, what is possible, what is impossible.” I think that many of us can benefit by setting our ego’s aside and learning from this exposé. I believe that if we listen to the innocence of childhood friendships, learn from the way children handle conflict, process and deal with hurt feelings, and make decisions with unwavering confidence we will have better success with our adult relationships and the relationships we have with our children.

For me, I hope that by adopting these principles I will struggle less with the adults in my life which I have conflicts, I will stay on the (not always pleasant) higher road, be more cognizant of my words, more genuine with my actions and maintain a clearer perception of my reality.  You never know, these kids may have already figured it all out.  I should learn by their example, grab some courage and make an attempt at finding a friend in my new world-Hey you!  Will you be my new best friend?

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Entry filed under: CHILDREN, Divorce, LOVE, RESPECT, The Four Agreements. Tags: , .

Out With the Old, In With the New! The Harvest

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. gillian from sweet indigo life...  |  2009/10/25 at 10:25 PM

    I agree, we need to be less judging. It is a protective mechanism I think! The older we get the less trusting we are.

    Kids truly are brilliant examples for us to learn from.

    And don Miguel is a genius, or rather his Toltec wisdom is…I do enjoy that book and reread it quite frequently. xoxo

    • 2. Ella Mental  |  2009/10/26 at 2:17 PM

      Adopting the Toltec wisdom takes self control, strength, and positive energy. I have also learned that it takes conscious effort and forgiveness to maintain the agreement I wish to have with myself and others. Veering off course is normal, I choose to learn from when I do fall short and strive to do better next time. I believe that just making an effort to live by the four agreements will changes one’s perspective in the world-changes the soul. I know that I saw life with a new set of eyes the first time I read them. xo


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It’s all Ella Mental!

If you asked me 3 years ago would I consider becoming a stepmother I would have choked emphatically NO! Probably not just no, but HELL NO! I would never entertain the thought of trying to raise someone else’s kid(s) or be married to a man with an enormous load of shh...Shall I just say, B-A-G-G-A-G-E (Pronounced: OMG!) I have seen enough drama on the colourful trails of adventure in my life, enough to know that I would simply not ever knowingly plop myself down amidst the chaos of a stepfamily.

Well, in 2006 I ate my words…

I am a 35-year-old career woman, wife to the most dashingly authentic man on this planet…sorry ladies…and gents! I am a “Mother” ( I quote this b/c I don’t believe that you have to pass a spirited life through your Va-Jay-Jay to be one.) …of 4 wild-hearted four-legged children, and the stepmother to a wickedly brilliant 7-year-old stepdaughter.

Feel free to accompany me as I write about my vastly changing life, my kids; both four-legged and two, my (step) Family (I place this in parenthesis b/c I don’t consider anyone under my roof with the term step, they are simply FAMILY to me!) … and the trials and tribulations of transitioning from a single woman into a stepmother (not always) with grace.

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