Some time ago I was standing in line on a very, very hot day. There was something about the air that day – it felt particularly heavy and you could see the impact of the heat on everyone around. It was one of those days when no matter how fast you thought you were moving it felt like you were going in slow motion – everything seemed to slow down. I was slow. The people around me were slow. The cashiers at the tills were definitely slow. So I was standing in the express lane because I only had 3 items, but the line was quite long – and to be honest, there was nothing express about it! Everything seemed like it was taking forever. While I was waiting, trying to distract myself and be patient, a child in front of me started throwing a temper tantrum. He was screaming – I don’t want to wait! I want to go! – and all I could think was – Spot on kid. Spot on!
While I am not a fan of hearing kids cry, scream, or throw temper tantrums it made me start to think about the carefree nature of a child. Of course parents are raising their children and trying to groom them to be good citizens and human beings, but in the midst of all that children are being told to do lies their own instincts, reflexes, and desires.
As I was standing in that barely moving line on that very hot day, my inner child definitely wanted to throw a temper tantrum. However, decorum and common sense (maturity) stopped me from doing so. Instead, I looked at that child who was screaming that he wanted to get out of there and thought – I totally feel your pain.
Although I have been around many children, I have never raised a child. Instead I’ve been on the sidelines watching parents check on their children – Are they hungry? Are they tired? Are they safe? Are they being taken care of?
It made me wonder, while I may not be able to allow my inner child to throw a temper tantrum, am I listening to its needs in other ways?
As we grow up, we become more independent. All the habits our parents and caregivers instilled in us fall into place – some more solidly than others. There is a part of independence, however, that brings about a bit of a rebellious nature. When you leave home and are no longer told to ‘make your bed’ each morning, you may relish the freedom that having an unkempt bed gives you. There is nobody watching over you to make sure you eat your vegetables. There is nobody shepherding you off to a social gathering you do not want to attend. There is nobody looking out for you making sure you are well rested, well fed, and well taken care of … now that responsibility lies in our own hands … but what do we do with it?
After all the sleepless nights and endless worry my parents went through to ensure I was well taken care of, happy, and healthy – have I respected their efforts and continued to do so for myself? Even parents’ expectations aside, what about my own inner child (my own self) am I taking care of her? Am I making sure that I am well fed, well rested, and well taken care of? Or am I skipping meals, skimping on sleep, and feeling stressed and overwhelmed?
I guess it just occurred to me that if my mom was taking breaks from work to make sure I was breastfed when hungry or if she took time to take me to the park on weekends to run around and play – maybe I should continue to do the same for myself as an adult. Are we listening to the nurturing needs of our inner child? Or are we modeling ourselves after a rebellious teenager? Perhaps it’s time to check ourselves and make sure we nurture our adult selves as much as we were nurtured when we were children.