Connection: Life Lessons from a Toddler
In the afternoon, we like to go to a stadium near our house where there is big football field surrounded by a pavement for runners. Right next to it is a playground for children and kind of “outdoor gym”.
Yesterday, there were only two other children there, a brother and sister a bit older than my little guy. They were climbing on some playground equipment. Without hesitating for a second, my little fellow headed their way…
Little did he know that the girl was shouting “farang, farang”, (“foreigner, foreigner”) as they ran away from him. He thought it was a game and chased after them in relentless pursuit. He was clearly having the time of his life, laughing as he climbed up and went down slides trying to catch up with the kids.
I stopped counting how many times he fell down… He just got back up and kept on running. I was probably the only one who noticed.
At first my natural instinct was to protect him… from falling as well as from possible rejection. What hard lessons must lie ahead for a little boy growing up in a world where he is so obviously different?
We are hardwired for connection, but time has taught us to hold back as we learn to calculate the odds of possible rejection.
We long for friendship. And in the words of C.S Lewis, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
Everyone wants to be able to say, “Me, too”. The only problem is someone has to go first.
I returned home to messages from our Velvet Ashes fall connection group where six moms serving in countries all over the world come together to share their stories, encourage, and pray for each other. It’s a group I would have missed out on if a friend did not reach out to invite me, or if the other five members had not signed up. Because they did, I get to say, Me, too”.
Inspired by my
ignorant brave toddler, I decided to go all in and pursue connection, because the only alternative is to end up all out and alone. Sometimes, being obedient on a walk of faith is as simple as saying, “Yes”, to the invitation, “Yes”, to taking risks, and “Yes”, to pouring your heart out, even if you don’t think it will resonate with anyone else.
Will you join me? Or even better, will you head into your own playground and relentlessly pursue others? Will you love your neighbors even if you don’t see things the same way or speak the same language? Will you keep reaching out to groups of people with the same interests or at the same stage of life?
I’ll be standing here, rocking a baby in a sling, cheering you on… Knowing you may fall and you may be rejected and it may hurt like hell. But if you don’t go first, no one else will get to say, “Me too”, and you won’t all end up having so much fun that no one wants to leave the party!
PS! If you are a new mommy you are welcome to join our private Facebook group “Moms growing Since 16’/17′“.
Image Credit: Pixabay