I learned a very important lesson from a complete stranger yesterday. It was a brief encounter but if I saw him again, I should probably thank him.
Kellan and I were taking a quick trip to the grocery store. I had to run in for sunscreen and Kellan was dawdling near our golf cart. Many people in town, especially vacationers like us, use golf carts to get around. For a boy in preschool, golf carts are like his matchbox cars have come to life. They never get old.
After letting him waste time for a minute, I stood by the doors of the store called to Kellan to hurry up. Then a man standing nearby said, "Patience Mom, patience." His tone wasn't judgmental. He probably noticed a boy having a dreamy little moment with a set of wheels and a mom who was just a few seconds away from exasperation.
That night after Kellan fell asleep, I happened to read an article in The Atlantic about how kids use imagination for play and how adults often interject their rules and place constraints on that sort of imaginative play. What struck a cord with me however, was the idea that the freedom associated with being a kid lasts such a short time. I remember how long my summer vacations seemed when I was a kid. Now some seasons bleed into the next to make a hyper-motion year. That man at the grocery store and the article made me realize that I was hurrying along my captivated child, and we're on vacation for crying out loud! I'm now working on appreciating each day. Thanks stranger!
How do you manage to slow down and let your kid's imagination take flight?