Several days ago, my grandson Royce was welcomed into the world. To say that my life changed would be a grand understatement. Something very magical happens when your family grows with the arrival of a newborn baby. Somehow, all the stresses of this world and all the challenges we lament suddenly seem so trivial. There is a mysterious therapy that manifests within when you hold your grandchild for the first time. In some way I became reborn and my outlook changed. I felt all-at-once humbled and filled with hope. Babies are a very powerful force in the world that renew the spirit and rekindle dreams long-passed.
In the months and weeks anticipating Royce’s arrival, I was concerned about what I could teach him and what sort of legacy I would leave behind when my time on this Earth comes to close. I always thought of parenting and grand parenting as the act of raising children, but now that my grandson is here, I am beginning to wonder who is raising whom. I now think that Royce is teaching me. Just days old, he has given me a few profound lessons about life.
1. Babies live in the present moment
Babies live in the moment. They do not know any other time except the present moment. The concept of time is alien to them. In their consciousness, everything is in the Eternal Now. That is the only time they know – NOW.
If you’ve ever seen a hungry baby, you can appreciate what I am talking about. When a child wants something NOW, they don’t give in to promises. In fact, they don’t even know anything about promises anyway. They just want it NOW. Babies value the moment so much that they squeeze every bit of juice out of the present. They are so consumed by the present moment. They don’t know how to wait. To them it is either this moment or never.
Obviously, we as adults ought to use the concept of time when it empowers us. But too often, we use it against ourselves. Our minds are constantly filled with the failed plans and promises of yesterday and the fears of tomorrow. All this time the present moment is passing us by without us making the most of it. Babies live in the present moment. Maybe it is time we begin to do the same. Maybe, just maybe, we will be as peaceful as they are.
2. Babies learn every moment
I think that one of the greatest gifts of life is the ability to learn. You don’t need to know everything before you can start the journey of life. All you need is your ability to learn. You must be teachable.
I have yet to see a place where this tenet is more exemplified than in children. I am amazed at the number of things children learn to do in their early days, weeks and months. When they are just born, they can barely do anything consciously. Everything is somewhat instinctive. Yet, they are learning every moment. Not even the sky is the limit for them. The message in this for adults is that learning is a life-long process and something that is critical to our growth and evolution as humans. We are never too old to learn new things.
3. Babies reach out every moment
Another thing I have learned is that children always seem to have the next milestone in sight. It’s really fun to watch my grandson try to attempt a new thing before he even perfects his art. He seems to be always a step ahead. Just when we, as adults are still celebrating one thing, there is a new skill on the horizon.
Seeing this reminds me that there are so many undiscovered things in my world. There are so many lands to explore, people to befriend, and cultures to experience. The richness of life comes from reaching out every moment.
So, you see, my grandson appears to be taking me back to school in a way. Who knew that someone so new to the world could teach me so many wonderful things? Babies are powerful. Babies are therapeutic. Babies are wise. These tiny Buddhas hold the key to what’s important in our lives. Everything else is rather insignificant.