This little pirate came towards me in the cosmetics aisle at Wal-Mart on a Sunday afternoon. I mentioned to his mom that she had an attractive pirate to which her son replied that he was dressed like Captain Jack Sparrow from “The Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. He went on to explain that he didn’t have the eyeliner, nor the mustache or long hair that the famed captain wears. You know, this little guy was much cuter, if you ask me. And that’s what interested me too, the way he noticed the little details that made up the character and he did his best to look the part even though he was a pint size version. Little things that make big things.
Children can teach us cool lessons about life and how to live it. They tend to enjoy much less complicated matters than we adults do. Getting in dirt and playing ball, making up a fun game, dressing up and imagining they are someone else. Come on, don’t we need a little time like that too? Sure they have technological toys to play with but I still see them riding bikes, playing catch, swinging in the playground, and you can’t tell me that Crayola isn’t popular anymore. With what they are still cranking out, I can bet they are still number one on a lot of wish lists. I know of many adults who still like to color and why not?
Little things that get their attention, the flowers growing in the yard, the pesky weeds that they pull up and blow on just to watch them fly in the air. Kids still get happy when they see my son walking our dog in the neighborhood. My son tells me that some small children will come up and try to pet our beloved dog. No computer needed for that kind of joy. Spending time with family doing special things, like going to the zoo, or maybe to a pumpkin patch or just hanging out in the front yard, can mean so much. Says, “I love you and enjoy your company.”
Even as they get older and the entertainment needs change, little things still add up. Playing a guitar and having mom and dad listen. Spending time with a best friend, on one’s birthday, without mom and dad, because you are old enough to. Going to dances and football games, becoming your own person while others note that you are trying to plan for what comes after High School. Conversations about the news, about subjects that you don’t quite understand but still want answers to, knowing there is always someone there to help you grasp a concept.
Acknowledging all of the accomplishments, empathizing with the failures, and encouraging one to do their best, the little things that make that big grin and confidence rise up in them.
Telling them how proud you are of them and that they have the ability to do whatever they want makes them stand a bit straighter, walk a bit steadier. We have their back. We don’t hold their hands; we just offer the guidance they need to make it in the real world. Directions? If that’s what is needed, we try to provide the right map for where they need to go and leave it up to them to follow the right route and not get distracted. Stay focused, we tell them. Concentrate on what needs to be done and you will make yourself proud. That’s something no computer or Smartphone can provide. Nope, they aren’t the little things that count. I like how that little boy’s mind was working, he noticed details that maybe we might miss, that may seem insignificant. Net time I watch a movie or just look around this big world; I will make an effort to notice the little markings on the things I see. It’s that attention to detail that matters and that makes for fascinating learning and play time too.