By Tricia Goyer
I walked into the grocery store with my youngest son n tow. “I'na walk,” my almost-three-year-old said as we approached the shopping carts.
In good mood, I decided to let him. This will be a learning experience, I thought as I watched his small body bound down the aisle in leaps. I didn't realize then that I would be the one doing the learning.
On his own two feet, instead of riding inside the cart, Nathan encountered the grocery store as an exciting adventure. “Look Mama!” He stopped in the pet section. “Cat ball!”
“Look, at ‘dis.” In the cereal aisle he pointed at the numerous boxes. “Bunny, bunny, bunny, bunny, bunny!” Then off he trotted off with a wide grin.
“Look, look.” He pointed to skylights that I’d never noticed. “Window. One, two, three, four, windows!” I laughed at his antics and my heart warmed at his simple joy. What fun a little child-wonder brought to our weekly trip! Nathan had spent many hours of his young life in the shopping cart, yet a new perspective made all the difference.
The next morning as we walked to the park, I realized I needed a little of that child-wonder myself. In everyday life it was easy to let all my questions, my problems, and my challenges weigh heaviest in my thoughts. Yet when I considered the grocery store experience, I realized I needed to let my thoughts out of the shopping cart. I needed to let them wander aimlessly, exploring the good things in my life. The things I hadn’t taken time to notice. I needed the mind and the joy of a child.
The more I took hold of this new perspective, the more I considered things I could appreciate. I had family members who cared for my children and me. I was healthy. I was working on my education, and I felt I was growing and learning as a mom.
So the next time you feel overburdened and strapped in by life’s concerns, look to your child and remember the joy that comes with experiencing the simplest things in a new way.
And if you dare, let your son or daughter out of the shopping cart, and go exploring side-by-side. After all, our perspective makes all the difference.