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The Wisdom of Children

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

I've listened to children for the past almost 20 years, probably more if I think about the younger children I sometimes babysat, and there's something magical about the way they see the world. They are as they are and they think as they think, without the pressures of an outside world to edit them.

I was a strange child in that I read philosophy, psychology, and 19th century poetry as a 10 year old in the 90s. I've always been fascinated by what people had to say, but more importantly where their words come from. Not all words match the intention behind them. But with children, they intend everything because they just are.

I wish to return to that place of being.

I'm an almost 40 year old woman and it was my son's words ringing around the house, with his black cape flying behind him, that spurred words of wisdom I needed to hear at that exact moment. In his whirlwind dash around the house, pretending to be a superhero, he stopped abruptly right next to me, placed his hands on mine and looked up at me through his smeared glasses before saying, "Nobody's perfect, right mommy? But everyone's important."

I nodded and smiled. He went back to his mad chase around the room and didn't notice the awe he left me with. I sat there dumbfounded. This tiny child, in his state of just being, shared with me the exact words I needed to hear.

"Nobody's perfect, but everyone's important."

He gave me the encouragement I needed to be, to take the risks I needed to take and not worry about the outcomes. I am not perfect and yet I am still valuable with all of my imperfections. I can't expect myself to have all of the answers, but I can expect myself to always try because I have something important to say, to give, to do. My purpose and my actions are not defined by the outcome.

This isn't the first time children would share deep words of wisdom or new insights with me that turn my perspective upside down. My world has been shattered countless times by the things children say. And they can say what they need to say when we take the time to engage, create space for their voices to be heard, and accept them as they are, so they feel safe enough to express their purest thoughts.

I invite you to take a moment to listen, really listen to what children have to say. For those of you who don't encounter children often, that includes the child within you. They are fountains of ideas, of wisdom, and encouragement. Just take the time to notice.

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