A Lot to Teach the Rest of Us

In July 1992 a young man was born. His mother called him M- . I had the opportunity to meet him a few months after his birth. This young man is now about fifteen months old, and he and his mother have moved to another town for various reasons.

I would like to tell everybody about this special relationship I have with this young man.

Friday was the day of the week that I spent time with M- .Every Friday afternoon I would go to their house and spend some time with him. His mother usually had a counselling session in this time. I would just give M- attention and do ordinary things with him. Playing with him was always a great pleasure. The whole experience taught me many things, but the outstanding lesson I learnt was that we were all like M- , once upon a time when we were very young people.

With a face not yet captivated by a chronic distress pattern, M- could say so many things. His eyes would light up when he saw me, and his smile was always warm, welcoming, and very pleasing to look at. Every little change in the environment around him had some effect on his facial expression. Many of his facial expressions, I just could not understand and often wished I knew what he was thinking.

People of his age have a lot to teach the rest of us about present-time living. He is just right 'there' all the time. When he looks up and sees the blue sky, he takes delight in it. When birds fly over his head he screams with excitement and joy. When there are other children in his environment, he shows that he delights in their presence. When he experiences pain, he shows that too. He cries and cries and cries non-stop when his gums are aching or his nappy needs changing or something is not the way he needs it to be. So powerful!

Helping him to eat was one of the more difficult things. He would grab the food and put it in his mouth and if he did not like it he would spit it out. He would often put food in his hair or all over his face. I found this a bit restimulating, but always lived up to the challenge to not impose my own distress about being 'dirty' on M- . Most adults are uncomfortable with 'being dirty' like having pumpkin on their noses. Even if only for about ten seconds. His passion for life had a profound influence on at least one other person -- me! Hooray for life! And thank you, M- , for teaching me so much.

Cape Town, South Africa

Last modified: 2015-07-21 09:57:34-07