Last week as I was walking my 5-year-old daughter to school, she saw a patch of dandelions in the grass and ran over to inspect them. She got down on her hands and knees and started to crawl through the grass looking for the perfect flower.
(I know, some people think dandelions are weeds, not flowers. However, for my five-year-old, there is no doubt in her mind into which category they fall.)
After selecting the perfect dandelion, she ran back to me and proudly presented it as though it were a precious, rare rose. I asked her what she wanted me to do with it? She said, “Keep it. Put it in your pocket.”
So, I did.
As we continued to walk, she saw another patch of dandelions and ran up to them and did the same thing. She got down on her hands and knees, crawled through the grass, selected the best one she could find and brought it back to me.
She repeated this same thing three more times on our short 10-minute walk to school. By the time we got to school my pocket was full of dandelions.
Our girls LOVE to collect things! Almost any random object they find outside, they think is a valuable possession. This is true of rocks, sticks, beads, flowers, leaves, acorns, and so much more. They go so far as to call these objects their treasures.
For example, this past weekend our family was throwing rocks into a river and our five-year-old found a random claw from what appeared to be a crawfish. No body. No head. Just the claw. She was fascinated by it. And of course, had to bring it home.
Our oldest daughter lays out all her “treasures” on her dresser so she can constantly view them and curate her collection as she sees fit. If/when we throw her treasures away, she comes undone.
After dropping my daughter at school and starting my walk home, I stuck my hand in my pocket not remembering the dandelions were there. When they met my hand, I instantly remembered and pulled them out. I was about to drop them on the ground and just keep walking. But for some reason, I looked down and stared at them. I was conflicted. To me, they were nothing more than a handful of weeds. Had I kept them in my pocket much longer, they would have been smashed and wilted by the time I got home. But to my daughter, they were the most amazing thing she had experienced that day.
As I continued to walk home, dandelions in hand, I reflected upon how I so easily lose my sense of awe and wonder. I look at these little yellow flowers and see annoying weeds that infest my yard. I overlook rocks laying on the ground and kick them out of my way paying no attention to what they are.
But not my girls. They are aware and attuned to all the little details of our world. They find them to be precious, awe-inspiring, and mesmerizing.
That afternoon, I was reminded of the ways my girls are teaching me to appreciate this one life that we have. I so easily take for granted the little things. I no longer stop to ask questions about why things are the way they are, or how certain things (like dandelions) have come to be. But with the perspective and viewpoint of a 5-year-old, every day can be an adventure. Every day we have the chance to learn something new, go on an exploration, and be curious about the people, things, and places around us. We have the opportunity to uncover the treasures of this world that lay in wait around us all the time.
So while walking home that afternoon, I hung on to those dandelions for a little while longer seeking to regain a child-like awe and wonder of the world around me.
Where in your life have you lost that sense?
What will it take for you to get it back?