A former student of mine has an eight-year-old son who was recently diagnosed with cancer, and has just undergone his first round of chemo. On his Facebook page he posted a quote with regards to his son's journey:
Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow. -Mary Anne Radmacher
This is a very special quote because, many years ago when my son, Jake, was in the midst of his battle with severe OCD and Tourette's, I referenced this same quote. The meaning is even greater today, not because of Jake alone, but because so many of my friends have children who are on some pretty heavy life paths right now- cancer, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, bipolar, Rhett syndrome. And while each path may vary in severity and difficulty, the message that the parents are sending is the same: though they may be small and, in some ways weak, they are fierce warriors who display other worldly determination and bravery.
I've wondered what it is that makes these children so strong. Here's what I've come up with.
No matter what gets thrown their way, children are alive. Children seek pleasure, they don't waste time on things that go against this innate desire for that which makes them feel good.
When my youngest son sees that I'm having a rough day, or that I don't feel well, he suggests we play a game or go to the playground to help me feel better. As adults when we don't feel well we tend to feel sorry for ourselves and think about how inconvenienced we feel by this bump in the road. We worry about all the things we need to do, should do, or have to do. And that only makes us feel worse.
Kids have their priorities in better order. They want to laugh. To feel good. To live. We confine ourselves to circumstances that are so often beyond our control (despite our continued attempts) and get paralyzed by our own frustrations. We fail to live, and merely exist in contrived moments of fear. Children feel fear differently. Their fear exists moment to moment, whereas an adult's fears are spread thinly across a multitude of future possibilities. Meanwhile, life goes on right in front of us and we fail to realize that we are not present.
The courage and strength that children have stems from their still-fresh connection to Spirit. Perhaps they aren't able to vocalize or even consciously understand the Light that powers them, but they still have a glow that has not yet been tarnished by time, and that glow is enough to light their way.
We would be wise to recognize this Light in our children and try to remember our own because it has never left us. It is a power we all possess and can manifest at any time. We must look to our children, especially those who are challenged in some way, for theirs is the light that shines brightest.
Our children have so much to teach us, if we let them. Will you choose to live with your children today, or simply exist in a world fueled by fear?