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Love like a child

Have you ever observed a young child, about the ages of 1-4, interact with others?  Oh, to have such innocence and love with abandon!

When our granddaughter was two,  she never met a stranger.  She said “Hi” to everyone, smiled and waved at total strangers.  She’d walk right up to another child on the playground and start talking to them.  She would often take people by the hand and say “come on” and lead them around to show them things, or ask them to play with her, “let’s do this.”  When she’d meet new people, or say goodbye, if anyone asks her for a hug, she did not hesitate to give one.  I’m not talkin’ about those sideways, politically correct hugs, or the quick little, double tap, or the chest bump.  I’m talking about a HUG, both arms wide open, her entire body resting on yours, sometimes she snuggled her head on your shoulder and sometimes she’d gently pat your back.  After our granddaughter hugged you, you smiled because you knew it had been an honest, loving hug.

If you look at the love of a child, it is so open, selfless, honest, and innocent.  In contrast, many adults are afraid to love, they are afraid to trust, afraid to be open, afraid to be hurt.  A child does not know this, but the world, and people in it, can be cruel and hurtful.  As adults we have learned that to open your heart means you are allowing yourself to possibly be hurt, emotionally.  For those of us who have been hurt, some more than others, we try to avoid this feeling – it’s painful.  So, we guard our hearts, we hold our trust back and we are cautious about anyone new.  We hug our family and we hug our friends, in the politically correct way, but we would never even THINK of hugging someone we just met. Gee, we might get slugged or something (grin).

It is most unfortunate that in this day and age, we have to watch my granddaughter like a hawk.  It is dangerous for people, especially a child, to be too friendly. We don’t want to instill fear in her, yet we want to ensure her safety.  I think it’s best to never be alone and always have a buddy, even as adults.  Even in the military, our soldiers have “battle buddies.”  On school fieldtrips, everyone has a “buddy.”  Women out walking, shopping, at the beach, wherever – should also travel in pairs.  Okay, I know, women often travel in groups.  How about guys?  Yes guys, we all know you’re rough and tough and can handle yourself in any situation. But why chance it?  It’s just safer to never travel alone.  What a shame.  I long for the days when you could hitch-hike and not be afraid.  I would love to help people out by giving those who are brave enough to hitch-hike, a ride. But I won’t.  It’s just not safe anymore, sigh.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all love like a child?  Can you imagine a world without fear?  No violence?  Wow, that would be awesome, but I know I’m just daydreaming.  We, as adults, can probably be a little more child like.  We could not be quite so judgmental, maybe not hold out too long before opening up, just a little.  I remember this visual (although I do not recall where I heard it)… If you constantly have your hand balled up in a fist so nothing can get out, nothing is able to get in either.  Your heart is the same way, if you don’t allow your heart to be open to give love, no love can be received either.

Go hang out with a child, today.  Let your guard down and let them hug you.  Then hug them in return. It will make you smile. 

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