The Beauty of Meeting Children and Allowing Them to Be

When I look at young children, I see bright lights in tiny bodies. They are quite dazzling in their beauty, playfulness, fun and readiness to love and be loved. I look at children and I see freedom… unashamedly allowing the world to see exactly who they are and how they experience life. Children will share with you the tiny wonders they discover along the intrepid adventure that is their average day. They will let you know when their bath water isn’t warm enough, their drink cold enough, their shoelaces tight enough or their t-shirt sparkly enough.

Allowing Children to Express or Squashing them to Conform?

When children have difficulty communicating, they come and see me: I work as a speech pathologist with children of all ages. Before becoming a speech pathologist I taught and coached swimming for 7 years. Both in my work as a swimming teacher and as a speech pathologist, I have found the task of trying to guide a child to ‘achievement’ against a set of criteria daunting.

Just as light eludes being trapped by lines and angles, children resist being moulded and squashed to conform to a structure that doesn’t honour the endless wonders that they are. And children know when they are put into a box that isn’t the right fit for them or doesn’t honour where they are on their journey.

I used to plan how I was going to teach a child to swim or how I was going to guide a child to develop their communication skills and try to get them to fit into my plan. The plan worked for some children and for some it didn’t. The children that the plan didn’t work for would show me this in a number of ways:

  • They would be what is often described as ‘naughty’.
  • They would have trouble concentrating and need to be constantly re-engaged with what I was presenting.
  • They would start to be ‘silly’ or begin ‘fidgeting’ when I was talking to them.
  • Even worse, there were some children who would be ‘good’ and do all they could to squash themselves into the structure of my plan.

All of these responses were in fact expressions of the fact that my plan didn’t work for these children. It didn’t work because I hadn’t taken a moment to put aside my plan, their parents’ expectations, time constraints, goals, etc. to look at the child and really see them. To see the endless wonder, natural joy and beauty that sparkles within all children, regardless of any diagnosis; but also to allow myself to feel what they had brought with them into the session.

Everyone struggles with the demands of their day and everyone carries around a matrix of challenges, burdens, belief systems and hurts that influence their ability to participate in life. Children are no different and they bring this baggage to every interaction they have… including swimming lessons and speech pathology sessions.

Meeting Children and Allowing them to Be

Structures and plans are needed when working with children, but they need to be coupled with a willingness to meet and see the child for where they are at and ALLOWING them to be there.

I still put plans together to address the difficulties that children have with their communication but now I adapt the plan to meet the child where they are at on any given day and on their life’s journey. I let the child guide me and most importantly, I remember that the child was already perfect before they walked into my treatment room. I am just there to support them to develop their ability to express that perfection.

So, that is what I am joyfully unravelling at the moment, allowing children to be exactly where they are and guiding them to express the awesomeness that already exists within them. It is remarkable how much beauty you will see in a person when you look at them and see them for who they are on their journey rather than asking them to jump in a hot-air-balloon with you and to join your own path.

For me, there is a particular joy in seeing the pure exquisiteness of a child, mixed in with everything else they come with on that day, and allowing them to be what you see. Once you invite them to share all of themselves with you… they very often do. I never fail to be touched by the amount of joy, love, humour, conviction, confidence and wisdom that is right there in children – and they are just dying to share it with you. But… is it just children who are little powerhouses of awesomeness? Or is it possible that we big kids are that too?

Inspired by the work of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine.

By Kate Maroney, Speech Pathologist, Melbourne, Australia

605 thoughts on “The Beauty of Meeting Children and Allowing Them to Be

  1. I love how kids keep it so raw. They will show us when things are up (because they have not learnt how to hide it), and they don’t hold onto it. Once it is expressed they can be clear of it and be shining brightly again in a matter of minutes. They are our greatest teachers, and in particular because they see the magic in every little detail.

  2. We have so much to learn about allowing children, and adults for that matter, to be who they are, without judgement or trying to control them.

    1. When we seek to control another we deny the truth that we are all equal in essence and have our own innate knowing and wisdom.

  3. This exposes how our current model of education is not working because it is still trying to fit the child into the created model or ‘mould’, rather than developing a model that fits the child.

  4. It is amazing how the good is seen as good when this is what is happening “there were some children who would be ‘good’ and do all they could to squash themselves into the structure of my plan.” it is in meeting the children where they are so that what is needed can be adapted to the child’s needs at that moment, a truly beautiful sharing Kate,

  5. I loved reading this blog. I’ve recently met my nephew’s 8 month old daughter and it’s been a joy observing her interacting with adults. I recently videoed her being fed and I saw her communicating when I replayed it several times. In the past I would have been oblivious with this but I feel I am more responsive to the way children communicate through and as adults are we prepared to listen and observe those signals?

  6. “Allowing Children to Express or Squashing them to Conform?” A choice that recurs throughout life in all relationships.

  7. The greatest gift we can give kids, little and big, is to enable them to express themselves without judgment.

    1. Being open and loving is all that is required. Children feel this and respond with incredible levels and insight which offers so much to us all.

  8. Ah Kate so refreshing to read, to often kids are given labels that really do nothing but cement the behaviour they are in. Reading children and understanding them whilst allowing them the space to just be allows for healing on many many levels.

    1. Give them a label and we are cursing them, something that they will carry with them and has the potential to define them for years if not a lifetime. Better to read each situation for what it is and just work on that.

  9. The journey you describe Kate and your relationships with children is a road I’ve travelled working with elders. Only when I surrendered, let go of me and need to control, was I able to connect with and meet the client.

  10. There are many parallels to be found when working with elder adults and children, I’ve experienced both. Some elders have their own unique way of being and expressing and beware the carer who steps in with an agenda of their own and tries to mould them to suit their own needs. One sensitive elder I know does not take kindly to this and resists any attempt to fit her into a routine unaligned to her own true movement. With observation and patience we learn from those we work with, child or adult, responding to each according to what we meet, not a predefined picture.we have in our heads.

  11. Your first sentence sums up children so simply – “When I look at young children, I see bright lights in tiny bodies”. This is such a beautiful way of expressing what a child really is and not what so many consider them to be, an empty vessel that needs filling with societally accepted education and the do’s and don’t’s of life. This way of raising a child does not allow for the expression of the wisdom and joy that naturally oozes out of a small child’s body, wisdom and joy that is there to be honoured, supported and encouraged in every moment.

  12. Shedding the light on communication and meeting children from their uniqueness and true glory they are. Means that we also need to shed light as adults, on how we are with ourselves in our lives. Do we express? Do we allow ourselves to feel vulnerable and actually stand up for what we are feeling? Do we see the light within our own selves? As would this not make space to then also see others for their purity, instead of the behaviors and doings only ? Just for us to consider.

  13. Thank you Kate. I have done a lot of work with children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders – the same applies to them too. There is a fundamental need to make the connection with them, where they are at first. This often involves joining in with their ‘special interest’ whatever that may be. This helps them relate to ‘another person’. But this applies to us all doesn’t it? If we want to connect to another person we find something to connect with them about. But we are all human beings so it shouldn’t be too difficult as we have so much in common – unless we are intent on seeing difference rather than commonality. It’s an important choice.

  14. Most of us would have felt the pressure to conform, some of may think that it is normal to conform, others will know that there is a sense of pressure that is not reduced when we do conform to something that does not feel true, there is much that does not make sense to us as children as we become aware of society and adult life…how much do we allow ourselves to be us or get lost in it? When we feel lonely in a crowd could it be that we gave up on being true to ourselves?

  15. Young children live with no filter. That is, they live from the essence of who they truly are and not by the dictates of a society that has strayed from this expression. From about the age of 5 as we start to become more exposed to the human created world we are born into and all the structures that we have put in place that stifle the soul’s expression so that we forget the divinity we are from, we begin to slowly allow ourselves to be shaped by this outer voice and not the inner one that would have us move otherwise. That is why as adults we are compelled by children and deeply fascinated and in awe with all they do and say because through their reflection, we remember that part of us that is still very much alive and well, just a bit forgotten.

  16. Yes you see it everywhere that there is one way of doing something that is applied to all children what ever is coming up for the child. I like your approach of meeting the children first and tailoring the way for every child and where they are at.

  17. Exquisite. Absolute. Simple and delicate. There is so much to admire about the way children are. But today I especially appreciate the straight forward way they say what’s not right. It simply doesn’t occur to them to be nice.

  18. What you share here also applies to adults as well. When our focus is just on achieving some kind of ideal, control enters and our expression gets squashed on both ends, as the instigator as well as the receiver.

  19. It’s amazing what it ignites in us when someone see us for who we truly are – it’s the same with everyone, kids, adults, elderly – I think anything is possible when we start to really see the truth of who people are.

  20. What a powerful and simple way to help children with their expression – providing a safe space where they can express any way they want and they then have the marker that they can do it.

  21. To hold a child’s hand and walk with equalness is the greatest refection we can offer others. Knowing that they hold the wealth of wisdom we all do and that our responsibility is to honour this in every moment.

  22. Reading this felt so gorgeous ‘When I look at young children, I see bright lights in tiny bodies. They are quite dazzling in their beauty, playfulness, fun and readiness to love and be loved. I look at children and I see freedom… unashamedly allowing the world to see exactly who they are and how they experience life. Children will share with you the tiny wonders they discover along the intrepid adventure that is their average day. They will let you know when their bath water isn’t warm enough, their drink cold enough, their shoelaces tight enough or their t-shirt sparkly enough.’ And also I really love this ‘I remember that the child was already perfect before they walked into my treatment room.’ Working with young people I agree it is good to have structure but not a structure that does not include them! This is something I am continually learning and refining.

  23. I work with children of all ages during two days of the week and am continually surprised and delighted by what they have to share and often humbled by the natural joy and exuberance that flows from them. They are continually reminding me of the simple fun that can be had in the most mundane of situations and by allowing ourselves as adults to be inspired by them we can learn so much about where we are in our lives.

  24. “So, that is what I am joyfully unravelling at the moment, allowing children to be exactly where they are and guiding them to express the awesomeness that already exists within them. ” so beautiful to read Kate, thank you for sharing, I grew up with a feeling that it was not ok to be me, and so I lost me for most of my life, it is great for children to have you as their teacher where you can allow children to just be themselves and honoured within them.

  25. “Just as light eludes being trapped by lines and angles, children resist being moulded and squashed to conform to a structure that doesn’t honour the endless wonders that they are.” And this is true for all of us, its just that as we get older we have a tendency to conform more, even though we still feel the resistance to being moulded and squashed. However as we get older, our discomfort with ‘fitting in’ to what society accepts and expects is then displayed in ways that create disharmony and dishonouring of ourselves and each other.

  26. I love the worldliness and openess of children, the wonder and awe that they hold and connection to asking questions about the Universe and then trying to understand how life fits with this. When they come into school they are disconnected from the wonder and awe and taught to think lineally, this cuts them off from true learning and the enjoyment of it.

    1. I agree, the awe and wonder children explore is extraordinary – it’s like when we are younger we really see the truth about the magic of life – and that magic is still there we just have to open our eyes.

  27. I too can look at children and be marveled by their freedom in expressing, their joy and their playfulness. And yes this should get lost when we get older. It should be combined with our knowing and living with what our purpose is.

  28. “light eludes being trapped” we are all children at heart and are offered the opportunity to let our light shine out.

  29. ‘now I adapt the plan to meet the child where they are at on any given day and on their life’s journey. I let the child guide me and most importantly, I remember that the child was already perfect before they walked into my treatment room.’ beautifully said Kate.

  30. We cannot force a situation. We can try but it doesn’t work. Allowing space for another whether that is a child or adult to be where they are at is incredibly beautiful. It offers and opens doors to evolution.

  31. How we measure kids’ ‘intelligence’ and ability is purely based on a ‘one size fits all’ model of education that pays no attention to the individual and their uniqueness. What I love about your article Kate is that you’re introducing a totally new way of having relationship with children, doing the opposite of this and allowing them to be themselves and have the space to explore their own essence and expression!

  32. Awesome Kate! We are definitely equal powerhouses to the kids, without a doubt, they’re just closer to being their natural selves than us oldies who have let ourselves get tricked and trapped in society’s game of illusion. Children are the best reflection we have, we have so much to re-learn from them.

  33. Beautiful Kate “honour the endless wonders that they are”, great reminder to not control or fit an agenda but to support them to find their own unique way.

  34. Awesome blog Kate, I love reading it again. I agree, children are naturally bursting with ‘joy, love, humour, conviction, confidence and wisdom’ but I am seeing more and more children struggling to express their natural essence and qualities. I feel we need to start asking ourselves why and what is really going on when children are not being themselves, instead of reacting, judging or losing it ourselves. We always have the opportunity to support children to come back to their essence by staying connected our essence ourselves.

  35. I love this Kate, ‘when you look at them and see them for who they are on their journey rather than asking them to jump in a hot-air-balloon with you and to join your own path.’ … it captures exactly how we can miss each other when we attempt to fit others into our mould rather than just seeing them as they are.

  36. I find when we are at ease with ourselves and hold that quality with children, they too mirror this quality and they are then drawn to you and open up to who they are in full and this is a real joy to behold.

  37. ‘I remember that the child was already perfect before they walked into my treatment room. I am just there to support them to develop their ability to express that perfection.’ This is a great philosophy to bring to all our interactions, children and adults a like. And likewise the children and adults that we meet are there to support and develop our own ability to express the truth of who we are and when we are humble enough to accept this and work with it we feel the harmony that is possible for us in all our relationships.

  38. Beautiful how you bring it back to the old children too – we! What was once seen and felt in our youngness (childhood years) can still be accessed and is all there, we simply have lost track and focus of it.. Nothing less nothing more.

  39. What I can feel in this blog is how children avoid anything that is not of love. It’s like the body doesn’t know how to handle the contrast to all they are (love), and in this the ‘naughty’ behaviour comes out.

  40. I still remember the people who really connected with me as a child as they stood out. Their imprint is lasting and this shows how much we affect each other and how we can inspire each other.

  41. Creating or holding a space for children or anyone to express truly how they are feeling is a welcomed change. So often now things are set up rigidly for where we need them to be which forgets or dismisses the actual people or person involved. Whether it be a child or adult giving them space to allow them to see what they are feeling is very worthwhile. There is so so much of this world built on telling or directing which comes from a place that is saying we don’t already know. If we keep making the same call that was made to us as children, the call that we don’t truly know then we continue to feed the world in the same way.

  42. Seeing children for who they truly are and allowing them to express this unashamedly sends them the message that it is ok to be a beacon of light in world full of shadow. If instead we crush this expression by way of the ideals and beliefs we impose on our young then we send them the message that it is not safe to stand out from the crowd, no matter that the crowd are not living true to who they are and are in desperate need of a true reflection in order to return to the absolute love and heavenly light we all come from.

  43. How gorgeously presented – that ‘just as light eludes being trapped by lines and angles, children resist being moulded and squashed to conform to a structure that doesn’t honour the endless wonders that they are.’
    This is true for adults also even though for so many it might be buried away and not something so easily accessible – but, it is through a child’s eyes and expression that we are reminded of our relationship with light and with a true way of being, underpinned by simplicity, love and harmony, we all innately know.

  44. How beautiful Kate, connecting with the children and allowing them to be exactly where they are at, ‘to meet and see the child for where they are at and ALLOWING them to be there.’

  45. The sparkle that you write about here Kate is within us all. When we allow our sparkle to shine this automatically allows the other to feel the same quality and the potential is then inspiring to see and feel.

  46. Kate, as I re-read your article I was remembering my own schooling and the teachers that tried to fit me into their plan and those that didn’t and how they both felt for me as a child. It is wonderful to have teachers who can drop their plans and just be with the child as it makes all the difference to the child. All we really want, whether we are small or big kids, is to be connected with and seen for who we are. If we wanted to we could make life so simple if we just made it about connection first.

  47. Kate this is a wonderful reminder of how to be with adults, and that we are just like kids but without that solid and more obvious connection to our essence children have. “I remember that the child was already perfect before they walked into my treatment room. I am just there to support them to develop their ability to express that perfection.” Imagine if we treated everyone we met as knowing how gorgeous and perfect their essence was, even if it was covered up? It’s a process for us all to let it out and live it consistently.

  48. That’s huge Kate. It’s business right there – relationships. Instead of following the regiment process of completing a task or required role, why is it not about connection from one being to another and meeting each other for all We All are, and at in that moment. So, well summed up “.. willingness to meet and see the child for where they are at and ALLOWING them to be there.” AND, as Kate concludes this is not only for children …

  49. What is described here is a true teacher – one helps and guides another to unfold and evolve their true potential rather than moulding them into another’s vision.

  50. I have found that children are amazingly fantastic at sparkling. They don’t even need encouragement to do so, they simply need the space. They can sing-song their way through anything, add a skip or dance to any step and see the joy in everything. Many adults have lost that ability and children are the most gorgeous reminder of how joy-full and light life can be.

    1. Nikki this was gorgeous to read, it’s so true. I often see kids done up in sequinned tutu’s helping their mum do the grocery shopping – there is just no holding back expressing their joy and awesomeness!

  51. By allowing and supporting our children to shine we can also be inspired to let our own light out – allowing us all to ignite and inspire each other.

  52. We are all bright lights in different size bodies and then there is a question of how much we dull or hide our light and our children’s light.

  53. A lovely sharing and great realisation that something was not working, ‘ It didn’t work because I hadn’t taken a moment to put aside my plan, their parents’ expectations, time constraints, goals, etc. to look at the child and really see them.’ Bringing in responsibility, and questioning what is going on here is always a wise move.

  54. “When I look at young children, I see bright lights in tiny bodies.” Imagine if we all looked at children that way – if we confirmed who they are whilst guiding and setting boundaries. And then if we did that with everyone – we saw the light of their being and beyond any behaviours that present themselves.

  55. Kate you beautifully explain how we could all look at children or really the whole of humanity. Looking first at the fact that we are everything already what an incredibly support way to be with them.

  56. “I still put plans together to address the difficulties that children have with their communication but now I adapt the plan to meet the child where they are at on any given day and on their life’s journey.”
    This to me is the grace of humility, allowing and acceptance. The support this offers to children is beyond words.

  57. Being met for who we truly are and not what we do is a gift at any age. We are never too old to be confirmed as the light in a tiny body we are.

  58. Thank you Kate Maroney, so gloriously shared.. It is all so true , small kids just live that, we as big kids need to re-live that again – it is all in us, we just have lost contact with it – that’s all.. Re-connection is easy once you know how and have the willingness to do.

  59. My heart swells with love and warmth just reading this blog Kate. You make it so clear that control does not really work for anyone, child or grown up. When we allow people to be who they are everyone is blessed.

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