Laura Nelson details seven ways we can imitate a young child’s behavior to help us see the beauty in our lives.
Everyone needs beauty as well as bread. (John Muir)
Have you ever taken a walk with a 3-year-old? You may think the purpose of your walk is to exercise or just to arrive at your destination, but your child has other ideas. To a young child, a neighborhood walk is an adventure filled with cool things like bugs, grass blades, and interesting rocks. They couldn’t care less about their destination or about getting exercise.
While children aren’t exactly productivity experts, they are experts at recognizing beauty. In fact, there’s a lot we can learn from them about seeking and seeing beauty in the world around us. If we open ourselves to learn what they have to teach us, we might discover that we’ve been surrounded by beauty all along.
Pope Francis wrote that “every expression of true beauty can thus be acknowledged as a path leading to an encounter with the Lord Jesus.” By seeking beauty, we seek Christ. And when we see the beauty around us, we see God’s handwork.
As busy adults with endless responsibilities, how can we train ourselves to see the beauty that’s under our noses? By acting like a child, of course!
Here are a few ways we can imitate a young child’s behavior to help us see the beauty in our lives:
Young children excel at being present in the moment. They rarely think about yesterday or tomorrow. Instead, they commit their mental focus to observing and absorbing everything they can right now.
Take their lead and spend a few moments each day trying to think only about what’s happening now. Ask yourself: where is the beauty in this moment?
Stop and See
Children are known for taking “pit stops” to look at ladybugs, snail trails, or other wonders of nature. As you grow in your ability to be present in the moment, you might find yourself stopping to observe something more closely.
Give yourself permission to stop in the middle of your daily routine to give attention to something you just noticed for the first time. Don’t worry. It won’t make you late for your next appointment. All you need is a few seconds to pause.
“That rock has stripes!” “That cloud looks like a hamburger!” Kids notice the most interesting details. Often, they’re seeing something for the first time.
Try to look at something you’ve seen countless times as if you’re seeing it for the first time. What details do you see that you may never have noticed before?
Change Your Posture
How many times have you seen a child crouch down low to get a closer look at something? Follow their lead and don’t be satisfied with seeing things from your everyday perspective.
Get down low or find a (safe) way to get a higher view if needed. You may be surprised at how different things look when you change your vantage point.
Children ask questions! They want to make sense of their world. So they wonder about things like the color of the sky, the number of legs an insect has, or how a rabbit can hop so well. As adults, we might find that we’ve stopped asking questions about nature.
Give yourself permission to wonder at God’s creation (without Googling!) the next time you go on a walk. The point isn’t about finding the answers. The point is letting yourself be filled with wonder at the power of God. He made everything and He did it without the help of a YouTube video!
Breathe It In
Have you ever observed a child give a contented sigh when they’re quietly enjoying themself? They’ll take in a deep breath and slowly release it with peaceful satisfaction. It’s almost as if they want to stay in that moment and save it as a memory. Deep breathing can help us be more present in the moment but it can also help us hold on to a moment in time that fills us with joy.
The next time you have a moment of beauty and joy, take a deep breath and let out a peaceful, contented sigh like a child might.
Carry It with You
“Remember when we saw that flower the size of my whole head?” Children like to bring memories to mind and enjoy experiences all over again. They savor those memories like a connoisseur savors a glass of fine wine. So, why save the savoring only for wine?
Be like a child and bring good memories to mind to enjoy them again. You might journal about a memory or share it with a friend or family member.
Some of these techniques may be easy for you. Others may be more difficult. But, no matter how you do it, do your best to seek beauty in the world. By seeking beauty, you will see it. By seeing beauty, you will be reminded of God’s presence. He is with us whether we realize it or not. And that’s truly beautiful.
Copyright 2023 Laura Nelson
About the Author
Laura B. Nelson is a Catholic wife and mother of three children. She is also a Catholic blogger, author, speaker, teacher and life-long student of the Catholic faith. Laura likes to be busy but she most enjoys spending time with her husband and three children at their home in Grapevine, TX. Find out more about Laura at LauraBNelson.com.