Jessica and I were first concerned with teaching our toddler how to use sign language as well as emphasizing language development so that he could do all kinds of fancy tricks, which most define as a sign of good parenting.
At around 1.5 years we decided that there was only a small amount of time where definitions and labels were not actually relevant or necessary, and that connecting with love, affection, and the experience of being present, would be our focus.
Now that Azlan is just about 4, he says things like ‘Mommy and Daddy. Let’s all love each other,’ where he commands the three of us to lay and snuggle. He also says, ‘Daddy, you’re my best friend.’ and ‘Daddy, give me a hug and kiss’ before leaving the house. He also asserts himself and is never afraid to express selfishness, assert property rights (tongue n’ cheek), or the full extent of his frustration. He is free to experience and express the full range of human emotion regardless of how uncomfortable, embarrassing, or unconventional this is. And, when he says I love you, this is the absolute expression of authenticity and this love energy becomes fully materialized, I can literally feel it impress my senses.
How beautiful is it that a being can exist innocently: defined here as without guilt, shame, or inhibition? How important is it that this be the foundation of an individual’s consciousness, where labels, definition, knowledge, principles, and consideration of others are the natural consequences of a fully realized experience of love and connection?
I have learned so much being present with an individual in his first 4 years. Primarily, I’ve realized that love is the purest form of human nature, and that all negative action happens when love is withheld or obstructed.