9. Best Growth/Challenge '09

What’s something that really made you grow this year. That made you go to your edge and then some. What made it the best challenge of the year for you?

This is a tough one. I’m as new-agey as the next guy but this “growth” thing is a little bit vague, subjective; a soft concept one might say.

But I’ll tell you about something that I learned a lot from. A growing experience, a life-challenge.

I went to visit an friend to help remodel a house and hang out after not seeing each other for 5 years plus. The thing is she’s got 3 little daughters; three to nine years old. I was essentially a new toy for them. Not having had any kids myself, that I know of, I was highly susceptible to the wiles of three beautiful little girls (hell, fact is that I’m susceptible to beautiful big girls too) . I was there for a month and got to see them in good and on less than good behaviour (although they were all almost always extraordinarily well behaved). That was something of “growth”, a challenge, to deal with every day. And it was great.

What was the learning experience? It’s that kids love to pretend. Just to pretend and play. We don’t do that much as adults – if at all. For the kids, what I came away with, was that it was a way of practicing for life, later.

This wasn’t pretending the be princesses or kings or queens or superpowers or Disney-like fantasies. Most of the pretend-play centered around day to day things: once I was a store clerk and the girls were shopping, they were waitresses and customers and I was the chef, they were students and I was the teacher, they were patients and I was the doctor or vice versa (not “playing doctor” kind of weirdness – don’t go jumping to horrible pedo scenarios; the pretending seemed to mostly revolve around giving shots), they were driving cars around on the back patio – making traffic. All real-life situations.

Part of pretending is children trying to figure out the way the need to interact with the world. I’d not realized that before.
The “growth” bit? That we, as adults, can use pretending to practice for real life; preparing for what really happens – what could happen. It works for children so it will probably work for me; for us.

I learned that it was extraordinarily satisfying to sit and listen to a kid read, very very slowly, aloud, a book; and help with the tough words – and have them come out at the end and, even though that child “doesn’t like to read”, she finished the book and wanted to read another one to me. I can pretend, in turn, that my listening and helping made a difference.

I learned that finger-painting is fun.

Nice place it was that I was visiting; this is part of the back yard. Can you see the deer by the wood pile?


Signing off with besos to the three princesas.

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