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On an unseasonably warm day last fall, I was driving around with my two-year-old happily in tow. I rolled down my windows to feel the cool air on my face and didn’t realize I’d rolled all the windows down. The shrill cry from the back seat brought to light my mistake but, before I rolled them back up, I glanced at the rear-view mirror expecting an unhappy little face. To my surprise, I realized the shrill cry was from pure delight! My son loved the wind in his hair and on his rosy cheeks. His mouth-open enjoyment of that moment of pure pleasure was both hilarious and intoxicating. We both laughed out loud and enjoyed that simple little pleasure together.

Little boy in the grass
Finding the joy again in the small things

A few weeks earlier both my boys were busy, bustling in the back yard, collecting insects, rocks and leaves. My four-year old was fascinated by the broken wing of a fly and the way a stone looked like the tooth of a T-Rex. My younger son was rolling around on the overgrown lawn, giggling as blades of grass tickled his ears while clenching handfuls of dandelions (yes, mowing and weeding should have been done last week!).

As adults, we forget the simple beauties and pleasures of everyday life. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our jobs, deadlines, housework, and other responsibilities. We need to make a very conscious effort to pause, stop and listen.

If you pay attention, you’ll notice our kids are regularly reminding us to be more observant, “Daddy, look, daddy LOOK!” To be kinder, “Don’t step on those ants, they’re carrying food to the queen!” To revisit experiences we once loved, “Can we rebuild that Lego tower?” And to let your imagination run wild, “That cloud looks like a sandwich riding a bicycle!”

It usually takes little time for me to dive into the brilliant and wonder-filled world my kids are experiencing. Seeing the world through their fresh eyes renews my faith in beauty, revitalizes my senses, and makes me appreciate my surroundings again.

So, whether it’s the wind on our faces or the treasured discoveries in the backyard, be sure to share those moments of splendor with your kids and truly be present.

Frank Emanuele, DCL Director

As appeared in the Frankly Fatherhood column of the October 2017 issue of The Mom & Caregiver Magazine

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