The Kindergarten garden @thevalleysteinerkindergarten is starting to look so beautiful and full of life. The little one absolutely loves going through the gates, into a world where her and her ’best friends’ play and explore the world alongside each other.
Best friends are such an important part of her understanding of the world at the moment and her place in it. She lovingly goes through a mental list of all her friends in the morning over breakfast and always before she goes to sleep, the wonder And excitement of what adventures lie ahead clearly visible in her eyes. The wonderful thing is her teachers too are just as much a part of this list, just as loved, just as included in her exciting ideas or reflections on as day well spent.
Human connection is so beautiful and so important in early childhood, in fact in at any time of life. To deeply feel seen, heard, valued, respected and LOVED is something everybody in society deserves, it really got me thinking this morning about growth and love as I have sat doing some work.
A long while ago (well it feels that long ago) after a night out with friends, I would go in the all night supermarket and pick up some pringles, dips and drinks and proceed to sit next to a homeless man in central Manchester, much to the dismay of my often freezing friends. Yes I was a little tipsy, I sat and chatted about all sorts of things with him, I gave him food and a drink, and then when the Taxi queue had died down I would say goodbye until the next time - maybe a few weeks or a month or so later. This carried on for a while, until one day he wasn’t there anymore. Fast forward a year and I was in a kebab shop again after a night out (I feel this isn’t painting the best image of me in my youth at this point) a man tapped me on the shoulder, smartly dressed with jeans, a shirt and jacket, he proceeded to greet me and thank me for the gestures of kindness I had shown him, the chats we had had, and told me he had a girlfriend, and was renting his first home. It took me a minute to realise who this man was as he offered to buy me a tube of Pringles and a coke from the shop next door. Kindess, charity, love, even in its slightly tipsy, aimless conversational way I had no doubt offered this man, had changed his life. He cried as he hugged me goodbye, and I have to admit so did I.
The strive for self improvement is human nature, and we all find different ways of channeling this inner desire to perfect oneself, to become more intellectual, fitter, calmer as a parent, compassionate as a person, spiritually enlightened etc. Its no coincidence self help books are massive sellers and there are thousands of self help accounts on social media whom help you to focus that inner self to improve oneself in one or more of the the ways noted above.
To improve oneself is wonderful, to focus on ones inner life, no doubt improves our mental health, our relationships with others, but as I scrolled through social media the other day I wondered, do we now love ourselves too much? Is our need to focus on ourselves bordering on self servitude? We can say a lot when it comes to a deep personal inner change, but ultimately it’s not what we say what matters, its what we DO. Do we still see, hear, value, respect and love those around us in small moments in our daily lives, not just those people close to us, not just the large world events which we pour our hearts into in charity, what about that lady who seemed rushed an distracted behind us in the super market queue, the mum who looks exhausted pushing her pram from the school run, the man sat outside the supermarket or in my case a nightclub on a cardboard box, the elderly man sat alone on a bench. How do we include them in our plan for sharing and sowing seeds of love?
There is a saying ‘No man is an island’, but I believe in todays culture we certainly can be an island if we choose to, and if we are not careful to avoid it. An island with flashing lights, and admittance for one only…oneself. In the pursuit of the self, we need to eventually realise that we are not and never will be perfect, but together WE imperfect human beings, we can bring about true change to this world and the people in it in small gestures of love. When we put ourselves out there, even uncomfortably, we will no doubt you might get some refusal, some odd looks, but it sows a seed, and I guarantee that person will contemplate that gesture. When we sow seeds of kindness no matter how small, just like that mustard seed in the Gospels they asit within us and grow in ways which we can never imagine.
Lets step outside of our circle, of our comfort zone, and go something small for someone this week, that connection is what makes us wonderful! lets sow seeds of love.
Peace and love