I have been growing up with my children for the last nine years and they have shared so much ‘magic’ with me and they are part of the reason that I have learned to trust, love and open my heart up to humanity in a deeper way.
There is a contradiction that I have often encountered as I have learnt to parent concerning what is called ‘The magic of childhood.’ Many of us seek to give our children an experience of magic in their lives but why is it we seek to deliver trips to Disneyland, are not honest about who brings presents and queue up for hours to meet a Father Christmas in a shopping mall etc.
This has got me pondering why, as parents, we so easily fall into the behaviours of the generations before us and knowingly perpetuate the cultural myths of the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas etc. as if there is no other way of bringing up our children?
The so called ‘magic of childhood,’ such as the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas, pale into insignificance when we allow ourselves to appreciate the moments of true connection and joy that can be shared with one another.
The ‘magic’ of Christmas, Easter bunnies, birthdays, is big business, and many of us can feel the pressure to get the right present, to have everything perfect for these events in the year. And while it is fantastic to stop rushing around, spend quality time with people around us, have a party or share a meal, as parents is it possible that we can be somewhat reliant on cultural mythologies and savvy marketing campaigns to bring an element of ‘magic’ to our children’s lives –– but what are they really experiencing?
Could it be that ‘magic’ is right there in front of our eyes in all moments, at all times of the year? And if so, what is magic – and do our birthdays, Christmas Day or any of our cultural icons have anything to do with it?
What do we do when our child asks, “Did you buy this for me?” concerning a present under the tree, or when they are uncooperative one day and we decide to bring out the, “Be good or Santa won’t be coming” story… Do we consider what we are bringing into our relationships with our children when we do not respond to them with honesty? Could the words we choose to answer with, if not honest, actually begin to degrade the very sense of magic, wonder and joy that is naturally alive within every child?
I suggest that appreciating magic in our lives has a lot to do with appreciating the gold that is in our lives on a daily basis and being as open, sincere and honest as we can be in our relationships.
Feeling a sense of magic in life is very much about nurturing and keeping alive the innocence, sensitivity and openness that children are born with and which, potentially even into adulthood, we can maintain.
Is it possible that magic is everywhere – it just happens that we keep getting distracted by a false light because it comes with glitters and sparkles? Could that ‘false light’ be flashing at us like false advertising on a neon sign…. selling us short-term solutions and investments when it comes to the ‘magic’ of life, rather than us having to look with honesty at the cynicism, reactions and hard shells that we develop as we grow into adults?
Are we already clouded by a cultural idea that thinks that we can not maintain and live with a wonder and magic of life at any age? Is it truly a natural progression in life to not feel magic and become cynical as we mature?
When we reflect on our experiences, it is our relationships and moments of connection that have true meaning – not what we buy, do or have.
What maintains and supports a knowing and sense of innocence and magic in a child’s life (something we all know at the birth of a child) is when they feel they are seen for who they are and appreciated and accepted.
- Knowing that if they have a question to ask, they will know that their parents will answer that question with honesty, to the best of their ability.
- Knowing that if the world gets tricky and slippery, they have some open and loving arms to come to and be held in.
- Knowing that when their parents make mistakes, they can apologise.
- Knowing that they were born more than enough, and they never need to seek anything outside of themselves to prove who they are.
- Knowing that their parents are role-modelling letting go of their ‘stuff’ so that together they can be more loving, because living with love is more important to them than holding on to any ‘stuff.’
- Knowing that if they feel something that is not true, their parents will support them to honour what they have felt.
- That when they look up, and look at their parents straight in the eye, they connect and are with them in full – to the best of their ability.
The magic of childhood does not need to leave us in adulthood. It is felt through the quality in which we live every day, which can include:
- The knowing of the true light that shines bright within every one of us when we connect with each other.
- Exploring the oneness, wonder and expanse of the universe.
- How Love can be felt and lived.
- Appreciating ourselves and one another.
- Being aware of the natural order expressed in nature: the signs, symbols, connections and synchronicity of life. I observe this daily in the branches of a tree (how each one has its place in balance), the shape and texture of a flower’s petals, the people I have around to reflect something to learn and appreciate, the rainbow in a raindrop, the light changing throughout the day, a full moon, observing the cycle of night and day and raising my head and taking in the stars.
Being open to the wonder and magic of life as an adult is a way of role-modelling the quality we so seek to sustain within our children.
This is where, as parents, we have the opportunity to be a true role model, to live in the quality that supports our children, inspiring them by how we live responsibly and with care for our own health and wellbeing; by appreciating what is reflected in life and learning from it, with the understanding that this underpins everything we do and say. The old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do,” is something that many parents are familiar with, but the thing is we are all hypocrisy radars and sniff out inconsistency before a word has been spoken.
There is magic all around us, at all times. It can be felt and it can be lived in the smallest interaction through honouring what we feel and appreciating ourselves and others. We all have the power to choose to commit to building a life with more consistency and care. It takes commitment but it is so enriching, nurturing and joyful to explore true magic throughout the year, rather than being reliant on what is sold to us seasonally or keeping it for so called ‘special’ occasions – whether it be appreciating what the seasons reflect to us, being aware of bird song, how the sky changes, a sunset, bringing nature into the home with flowers, the sparkle in someone’s eye, enjoying the warmth of the sun on your back.
By the way, this does not mean a life desolate of dressing up, gifts, rituals and playfulness. Parties can still be planned and enjoyed and the changing ages, cycles and seasons marked and celebrated. Life has so many moments to mark, confirm and enjoy, be it coming together for a meal, allowing our bodies to rest as the day comes to a close, dancing together, appreciating our relationships and expressing it, choosing a gift from a place of love and celebrating our lives as they unfold through the years.
When it comes to parenting, what will our children reflect upon when the years have passed? In this world that can be at times chaotic, cynical, dishonest, unloving and scary, could it be that there was a beacon of light and consistency, a parent without perfection that honoured who they are, truly listened and was honest with them? A parent who shared the wonder of how life and nature reflect back to us who we are?
How would this prepare a child for adulthood while holding and nurturing that light of true magic within?
Just take a moment and look into a child’s eyes without expectation or a guard. Be open to the love and light that resides within (if you don’t have a child near you, it works just as well with an adult). See that sparkle and light shine and you will know there is true magic right there… within us all.