Remembering Your Inner Child

by Jessika Wellisch

Have you ever observed a preschooler? They are the wisest beings on earth. No matter what they are doing, they have a sense of agency and purpose. They are curious, adventurous, and fearless. Their energy is boundless. They are fully present in each and every moment, take risks and are unattached to the outcome. Above all, they approach their world with an open heart. For the last 15 years, I’ve been trying to live my life just like that, just like a preschooler.

As a mom of three, I’ve spent countless hours reading parenting books on everything from how to play with children to how to teach them about God. Yet, I now know that good parenting is more about our own self-awareness and how that informs who we are as parents. We’ve all heard the old adage; you can’t teach what you don’t know. How can you teach playfulness if you’re not playful yourself? Which brings me to my next point, something my life coach recently challenged me to do: spend more time with your inner child. “My inner child? Who’s that?”

At 44, and despite the fact that I’ve taught preschool children for over a decade, this exercise challenged me. Why? A few days into the process, I was finally able to engage with my 5-year-old self. She was adorable and full of life, sassy and confident, sweet and daring, fearless and thoughtful, bursting with energy and deeply connected with the natural world around her.  The more clearly I saw her, the sadder I felt that it had been so long since I had tapped into that part of myself.

Tears came quickly, as they often do these days, and I engaged with her in a strangely emotional conversation. “Hello!” I mentally said to her as I waved. “Can I hug you?” I was fascinated with all the traits I recognized in her, many that I had forgotten and was actually trying to master through books, classes, and online seminars. Yet, having a healthy relationship with my inner child gave me access to those traits I long for: playfulness, presence, exploration, curiosity, color, imagination, laughter, music, fearlessness, and fun. I had an epiphany: What if true happiness is about cultivating that inner child and keeping her present in my life as I age? What if it’s our preschoolers who best embody inner wisdom and are the experts on how to live life to the fullest? What if it’s the children in my life who have taught me some of the deepest and most meaningful life lessons?

Next time you’re wondering what to teach your little one, I say get messy with her instead. Take off your shoes, jump in that sandbox and try to see the world through her eyes. Observe her, learn from her and take notes because I promise you she’s onto something deep. Above all, call on your inner child, the one we all have inside and is oftentimes forgotten, and invite her over for a long playdate.

Jessika Wellisch is a Life Coach with Intuactive Balance in D.C. She is the mother of three children and one dog, wife of one husband, life long spiritual seeker, creativity explorer, and philosophical junkie.

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