“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Chinese Proverb
My son came home from summer camp this week and complained about another boy in the group. It was the same conversation we had every day when I picked him up.
After dinner, we went for a walk and he brought up the little boy at summer camp again. I asked him to tell me something nice about this boy. He thought about it for a moment and told me that he was kind to a girl who was sad. After a few moments, he added a few more things to the ‘nice list’.
I asked him how it felt for him when he talked about the things that were wrong with this boy, and alternatively how it felt when he talked about the things on the nice list. He told me it felt better when he thought about the nice list. I explained that was his inner wisdom guiding him, showing him that focusing on the good things was much better than focusing on the bad. There is so much information in a feeling, not just for children but for all human beings.
We all have this wisdom. Some call it intuition, some call it a gut feeling or reaction, a sixth sense, or their guardian angel. It’s a gentle nudge (and at times not so gentle). It is our innate wisdom guiding us, like a lighthouse. Shining the light to guide us to wisdom. When we get quiet, that wisdom speaks to us, guides us. It’s a fabulous thing to teach our children. It’s a fabulous thing for all of us to understand.
Have you ever felt that gentle nudge? Often we will try and rationalize away the wisdom. But just like my son, the right decision came with a good feeling.
As a parent I want him to learn about this wisdom now, to tap into it and listen to it as he goes through his life. Particularly as he approaches the teenage years when he will be faced with many challenging decisions. I don’t want to give my son a fish, I want to teach him how to fish.
Thought Bomb Moment: is there a conversation you have had with your kids where you could have pointed them to their wisdom? It’s never too late. Keep talking to them, keep listening to them. Keep pointing them to the lighthouse within. Our innate wisdom is always with us. Maybe there is an opportunity for you to listen to that gentle nudge. It’s never too late.
Be well. Be present. Be You.