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Perhaps you have children, or have nephews or nieces or small grandchildren.  Perhaps your friends have little ones, or maybe your neighbour has a young son or daughter.  Whatever your experience of children, I would imagine that there have been times in your life when you have watched a child, open-mouthed, gazing in wonder at something in front of them.  There they are, transfixed and totally absorbed, enthralled by what their eyes are taking in ready to be processed and made sense of.  It's a great sight, and one which always makes me smile.


Parents will pay a lot of money for that gaze of wonder, including trips to Disneyland to see Mickey and Minnie and expensive toys to wow their little ones.  While these treats often hit the spot, I can't help but notice that children often find something special in the smallest, most inexpensive treasures too.  Ants building an ant hill might catch their attention, or neon signs that seem to animate upon flashing on and off might be something they find fascinating.  Kids are great at finding wonder, whereas we adults, I would argue, can sometimes find we have gone an entire morning or afternoon on autopilot, hardly noticing anything at all.


Mindfulness, and the quality of being 'in the moment', is much talked about currently.  Appreciating the smallest things, like the sun on our skin during a warm summer afternoon, or the singing of the birds outside the bathroom window as we go about getting ready in a morning, is a skill that can at first be alien.  These small pleasures are there waiting for us to notice them, if we open ourselves up to them willingly and (especially at first), deliberately.


To cultivate a sense of wonder involves looking more closely at the mundane, everyday things that we no longer pay much attention to any more.  To look at things we are familiar with through fresh eyes - and I mean really look, not just throw a passing glance - takes practice and a willingness to do things a little differently.  The exercise can be extended to our other senses too, and we can over time come to really taste our regular cup of coffee, with all its rich tones and flavour, or really appreciate the scent of the honeysuckle in the garden we pass on our way to work.


I think that there can be the temptation to think that the learning in a child-adult interaction is always a one-way process, whereby the grown-up imparts information to the younger half of the duo.  I would suggest that in some ways, we adults have a lot to learn from children too, including how to look as if through their eyes, and so appreciate more the wonder that can be found in unlikely places.


Would you like a little help looking at how to start making changes in your life?  Learning to reassess can be a valuable pursuit, and one that can pay dividends in the longer term.  Perhaps you already know what the first thing you would want to talk about might be?


Rob Oglesby MBACP (Accred) B.A. (Hons) BSc | Ashwood Therapy


Ashwood Therapy provides a discreet, confidential and professional online counselling service by encrypted video call, live instant messaging and secure email.  More details, including tips on wellbeing and information on current counselling session pricing, can be found at www.ashwoodtherapy.com


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Wonder - Through the Eyes of a Child

Wonder - Through the Eyes of a Child | Ashwood Therapy Blog