One of the elements that I have come to understand as essential to one’s personal growth—mental, spiritual, and emotional—is the ability to sit quietly and just be. Of course nowadays, there is always something (or rather, a bunch of things!) that is clamouring for our attention, and so we are often left without a second to ourselves.
As I was watching my friends play with my daughter, it hit me that perhaps there is another reason why we are not able to just sit and be. From the cradle, there seems to always be a need for those around a baby to constantly be in their face. OK, that sounds bad, but you know what I mean—we are always talking to babies, singing to them, waving toys in their faces, always encouraging movement, and never just letting them be.
I was particularly struck by how there seems to be a conviction that a baby left alone is a baby that is neglected. My daughter has had the capacity to play by herself from very early on. And so, my husband and I have made a conscious effort to let her be when she is happily entertaining herself. And yet, although she is fed, clean, and safe, those around us seem to be quite uncomfortable that we are leaving our baby to her own devices, convinced that good parenting means constantly entertaining her.
But it is becoming increasingly clear that we should leave our daughter to herself when she is perfectly content to do so. Because the adults around her already have such a tough time creating a space in which they can be by themselves; isn’t it giving our daughter a leg up that, when she does find a space to just be, she knows how to fill it up with joy and wonder?