My almost ten-year-old looked out the window this morning, mesmerized by the snow. She breathed it all in for a few moments – the peace, the quiet, the wonder. Then she suspended her inner critic and said, “Mom, if I jumped off the rooftop of the swing set into the snow don’t you think it would be awesome?”
“I think you’d get hurt.”
“No, I think the snow would be fluffy like a cold cloud.”
It struck me at how differently kids see the world. We attribute their inability to understand how things work to their innocence and lack of exposure. And that’s true. But, my daughter probably knows enough about science to figure out that she might not have the marshmallow landing that she described. I think it’s more that she is able to suspend her inner critic and just be.
If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it you can become it – William Arthur Ward
I love this quote. This is what kids do. They think of amazing things uninfluenced by constraints. Perhaps this is why children can’t distinguish between dreams and reality. Did you ever have a dream when you were little that you thought might’ve been real when you woke up? Once I was convinced that our house had a whole other secret wing in the den but when I checked behind the door to settle if it was a dream or reality I was hit with the hard facts – it was a closet. I had dreamed the secret wing. But, in those moments before the door opened, oh the anticipation because I believed it could be true.
When I teach drama to my two year olds, I love to watch how easily they believe that they are bears, cowboys, or snowmen. For slivers of milliseconds, I’m able to tip back into that world alongside them and it brings me joy.
Day to day my life is demanding. I’m only able to suspend my inner critic when I write or act (though, I haven’t done much of that lately). I savor the writing moments where I can inhabit different characters and I live in their worlds where anything can happen. These are the times that I truly can just be. What a feeling.
Later today, I’ll bundle up and go outside with my kids and I’ll try so hard to live in the moment. I’ll pretend that I’m a bear in a cave or a mountain hiker trapped in a snow fort. And, maybe (depending on the accumulations) I’ll jump with them off the rooftop of the swing set in anticipation of a super soft landing like in the Snuggle commercial. Or, as is more likely the case, I’ll jump figuratively into a world that I will create on the screen of my computer. After all, today is the perfect excuse to do that.
Will you do anything today to suspend your inner critic, just be and create joy? What dreams did you have as a child that you were convinced really happened?