I’m an eldest child – to the core. A rule-following, introspective, order-loving person. Obviously, the ‘rules’ of birth-order aren’t the be-all-and-end-all of what defines us, but I will say that they hold up remarkably well within my own teeny-tiny sample set of 3 children. So, as a ‘First’, it’s been interesting to watch and learn from a ‘Third’ as I share experiences with my youngest son during these quiet days of summer. I thought I’d take this month’s blog to review some of the lessons he’s unwittingly shared this summer:

Dreaming
My son is going to Mars. He’s made up his mind and there’s no two ways about it! While other kids are watching Youtube videos about Minecraft and unboxing toys, my son is scouring NASA’s website and committing satellite launch schedules to memory. He knows (I just put ‘knows’ in quotation marks and then felt compelled to go back and edit them out because his conviction is so strong that it felt traitorous to leave them there -that’s how much he talks about this) that he’s going to be an astronaut. And his improbable conviction has been a lesson for me. Isn’t one of the first things we’re taught about manifesting that you have to see your vision with your heart and your gut rather than your mind? That you must believe to achieve? That there can’t be any wobble in your conviction? That you should eat, breath and think your dream as much as you possibly can? If that’s how the Law of Attraction works (and I’ve seen enough to believe it is so), I’d better start mailing care packages to Mars now so they’ll be there when he arrives!

Self-Sufficiency
I will admit to feeling slightly guilty about this one – although I think it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. About the time that I became obsessed with the new learning I shared with you last month (studying ergonomics, the effects of Sitting Disease/Digital Dementia/a too sedentary lifestyle on our wellbeing as individuals and a society) my son found an obsession too. His was learning to ride a bike. Every waking ‘non-structured’ moment he had, he wanted to be out on that thing. And I wanted to be inside studying. And my husband wanted to be doing all the things he does daily. So, there was some initial ‘requesting’ of our time to teach him, which turned into begging, which rather quickly turned into self-sufficiency. Instead of turning to defeat, he turned to determination that (even as an adult) I truly admire. He started on the driveway (which allowed him about 5 feet of un-interrupted coasting space, lol) and (when I actually did make it out to supervise) our quiet little street. He wore his scraped and bruised knees and elbows as signs that he was getting closer to his goal rather than evidence of failure. And he just kept trying. And the end of the story… I’m now looking for a bike to buy for myself so we can take his new-found obsession farther afield together. I hope I’m still as competent as he now is. Yay for another avenue to spend active family time together!

Mindfulness
Do you remember Whitney Houston’s 1980s anthem ‘The Greatest Love of All’? I was a kid, but I remember when that song came out that it made an impact on my dad in a way I hadn’t seen before. He’d stop when it came on and pay attention. The very first line of that song talks about children and ‘teach(ing) them well and let(ing) them lead the way”. I had a glimpse of what my dad might have been thinking about as those lyrics played, this past week with my youngest – in the Montreal Science Centre of all places. My little guy asked me to sit down to a challenge/game with him. To play the game, you placed an electrode band across your forehead and then, using only concentration/brainwaves, attempted to move a ball into your opponent’s goal-net before they could do the same to you (the opposite of tug-of-war using only the power of your thoughts, if you will). We had a good stand-off going for nearly a minute as our eyes bulged as we stared at the ball moving millimetres back and forth. And then he closed his eyes, breathed deeply and caused the ball to roll smoothly into my net (I’ll admit to thoroughly enjoying watching what he would do more than the game in that moment – don’t tell him). Hours later, walking home from our science expedition, he smirked up at me and said, “You let me win that game mommy, didn’t you?” “No,” I replied, “I was trying my hardest to move that ball.” “But you taught me my secret weapon,” said my wise little boy. “It was when I remembered to relax. I stopped looking at the ball, took a deep breath and concentrated on what I wanted to have happen. And you couldn’t stop it then.”

Teach and let them lead indeed!

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