When you go to any large spacy outdoor public area, just sit on a bench and observe the surrounding children. They have this amazing ability to very happily entertain themselves and each other with absolutely no tools or toys within sight, just the brilliance, and richness of the outdoor environment. Even if this space was only concrete, observe how children come into it with wide-open eyes, with happy curiosity as if they are little scientist exploring an interesting discovery.
So, you will see children running while smiling, as if they are celebrating their newly found freedom of space. A little girl with a dress may decide to twirl to observe her dress flying in the air. A boy may also decide to spin and spin also expressing the wonderful space by communicating the will to fly and experience the self-manufactured wind on his face. Two or three children will be definitely running after each other while omitting hilarious contagious laughs, they are not intending to play catch or anything, just the spontaneous decision of lets run and laugh. And you will find at least one child, who may or may not be just a 2 year old toddler, squatting to observe something on the ground.
This is actually what I do for relaxing; I go to an open public space, with the intention of getting inspired by this beautiful, contagious childhood happiness. It also is what I advise parents to do, both for a happiness boost and for improving their parenting practices. I guess it’s the most accurate example of living in the moment and making the most out of it.
In psychology this is called “the here and now”. It is used as one of the experiential approaches in family therapy. It generally models how to get in touch with your feelings and express your emotions. In Experiential Family therapy, dysfunction is believed to come from suppressing needs and thus therapy is through training families of how to adequately be sensitive to impulses and express their needs. This is done through play, psychodrama and sculpting. (Becvar & Becvar, 1996)
I have therefore made the conclusion; children are constantly and on a daily basis, telling us and showing us how to live happily and how to allow them the happiness they deserve. So lets just do that!
Adopt the childhood here and now inspiration for happiness and it will reflect right back at them through a shining happy parent.
Becvar, D. S., & Becvar, R. J. (1996). Family therapy: a systemic integration. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
By Dr. Mona Youssri
Child psychiatrist & family therapist