For us, in this part of the world, we are deep into the camping season. I love observing the many people taking advantage of the outdoors, spending time with families, enjoying campfires, watching the children having fun on their bikes, exploring nature, or simply spending time by themselves. Once in a while, I learn a valuable lesson from conversing with or watching them do things.  Today was one of those special moments.

Hunter is a 10-year old young boy, polite and soft-spoken. Earlier in the day, he came into the campground store with his grandmother and younger twin siblings; 5-year old Tyler and Skylar. Grandma treated them to some ice cream and I got to chat with the four of them. Their candid yet sincere politeness struck me, right there and then I already thought to myself, “What lovely young beings, I bet these fruits don’t fall far from the tree.” The word ‘please’ followed an inquiry they raised and a ‘thank you’ came afterward.  They also looked me in the eye when they conversed with me. I was touched because I could feel their child-like yet genuine mannerism.  Grandma didn’t ask or remind them to do so, it seemed to be part of their natural behavior.

Later in the afternoon, the three of them returned to the campground store, by themselves. As we exchanged pleasantries, they shared with me what they had done and enjoyed so far this summer, what they looked forward to when school resumed in the fall, especially for the twins who are going into Kindergarten.  I had to excuse myself when the phone rang.  Later on, sitting behind the counter without them realizing I was listening, I was touched by their conversation.  Hunter, who was very attentive to his siblings’ needs, had put two candy bars out on the counter for the twins, and he was contemplating what else to buy.  They were going up and down the store small hallway and seemed to be drawn to an area where some necklaces were hanging.

“What do you think about this, Tyler?”

“I think she’ll love it. It’ll look good on her,” Skylar’s voice barged in.

“Hmmm … let me see something else,” he said to himself.

The bargaining with self, sometimes followed by negotiation with his siblings, continued on for about five minutes. I couldn’t help smiling, a few times, listening to his way of making his case of what to buy. After a few minutes of eavesdropping, I realized the decision wasn’t made because he didn’t have enough money for the thing he wanted to buy.

“You can have my money,” Tyler’s voice emerged. “… and mine too,” Skylar followed up. Then I heard some coins landing on the floor, followed by Hunter’s counting.  Not long after, I heard Skylar’s soft voice saying carefully, as if she didn’t want me to hear her whisper, “Maybe the lady will give it to us for this much.” I heard a shoosh coming from Hunter, and then some brotherly rationale to let go of buying the candy.  I finally had to cut in and asked them what it was they were planning to buy.  It was something for mom. I remember grandma said something this afternoon when I jokingly mentioned, “How come grandma didn’t get an ice cream treat?  Who’s treating grandma this weekend?” With a soft and proud smile, grandma said, “To have them spend the weekend with grandma and grandpa is the treat.”

“Is this the real price of the necklace?” Tyler asked me with his cute gleaming eyes and smile. I nodded. I knew what he meant. Hunter then asked me to give him some ideas, what $6.60 would buy. I pointed to a few things then moved out of his way to give him some space to consider. But he seemed to have locked in his choice for the necklace. “Do you think your mom will wear that necklace?” I asked. All three moving their heads up and down erratically. After a short pause I said, “You can have it for $6.60.”

“Oooooh, thank you very much,” Hunter spread his arms wide as he came closer and hugged me, the twins followed afterward.  “I’m just happy to see you thinking about your mom.  That’s very, very, nice.” I said. And here’s Hunter’s response, “Mom’s always thinking about us too,” he said.

“How do you guys know mom is always thinking about you?” I investigated.  Almost simultaneously, they responded, “We know,” while tapping their hearts. I was moved by what I experienced. I later also found out Grandma didn’t ask them to buy something for mom. That was “their money”. Hunter had a little deeper pocket because he did some work for the elderly neighbor that lives next to their home; watering her plants, he said when I asked.  He originally wanted to treat his siblings to some candy, until he saw the necklace that reminded him of what mom loves wearing.

I couldn’t stop wondering afterward.  Their parents have deposited valuable treasures into their memory banks. Children enter this Earth with open minds and hearts, a blank canvas that’s ready to absorb life’s goodness.  It is we, the adults, that put the color into them, intentionally or not. We may think they don’t notice, listen, or watch. Yet their emotional recording machine is on all the time, capturing each moment that passes through their mind and soul. Then one day, they’ll surprise us with what they do. Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  This applies to our children as well. And lessons like this is what they carry into their next stage in life, especially as they’re raising their own. We may teach them with words and actions, rewards and warnings.  It is what they interpret with their heart and soul that will turn into behavior and build their character. I was inspired.

What inspiration have you drawn from young beings around you? Share your thoughts and experiences with us.

#childrenareteachers #learningfromchildren #livingyourinspiredlife #ingemaskun