Children are pretty awesome, right? Maybe you have some who you love to tiny pieces, or maybe you want some, maybe, one day.
Whatever your own personal story, the relationship we have towards children is one of the most important of our lives. How we develop with children as people, even if we choose to have nothing to do with them at all: it profoundly shapes who we are and who we become.
Children dream big and wish hard. Take yourself back. Remember when you were looking up at that big old world, projecting your hopes and dreams. How do those hopes and dreams compare with those of children today?
Here are the 15 biggest wishes of children around the world and how you can help.
1. The Wish To Have Fun
When asked by adults, children will answer questions about what they want to be when they grow up. But the chances are they are probably happier sticking in the ‘now’ and doing whatever it takes to just have fun and enjoy themselves. You can take a step back and let this happen as often as possible.
2. The Wish To Play
If you’re lucky, fun and enjoyment can come in a great many forms when you’re a kid. Play is usually at the heart of it. Play allows children’s imaginations to run riot, it gives a channel for competition, it lets them immerse and lose themselves, forgetting everything else. Much like it can for adults. You can create an environment or design a schedule where, for a certain time, play is put right at the top of the agenda.
3. The Wish For Mischief
Children like to test how far they can go with adults. They revel in cheek, little masters and mistresses when it comes to prodding adults, and often taking enormous amusement in our great displeasure. You can accept their devilish tendencies, and try not to let your temper fray to soon.
4. The Wish To Experiment
Closely related to both the Wish For Mischief and the Wish For Place is the Wish To Experiment. It’s about testing, probing, learning and discovery. You can let them try things and make their own mistakes, even if they take the occasional bump along the way.
5. The Wish To Be Accepted
No child wants to feel like the outsider, although many do. They want recognition, appreciation, engagement and acceptance – much like adults. You can unconditionally accept and forgive them any misdemeanours, not banish them to their rooms for too long.
6. The Wish For Friendship
For the most part, children like the company of other children; even the most independent and the most happy playing on their own. They’re probably not on Facebook yet, so you can make sure they have a small social circle.
7. The Wish For Safety
Children can be improbably adaptable. Many children might not wish for safety, having little idea of real physical risk. But those children with an instinctive understanding of an environment that definitely isn’t safe, they will crave it like nothing else. You can try not to expose children to dangers and potential damage.
8. The Wish For Peace
A close relation of the Wish For Safety comes the Wish For Peace. If you’re a child whose day-to-day existence is blighted by the threat of bombs, gunfire, terrorist attacks, a basic lack of basic supplies, your experience of childhood will be distinctly unlike many. Unless you have considerable political power, there’s not likely to be much you can do about this one.
9. The Wish For Food
Children need fuel. Some of them a bit more than others, but for all of them it’s another fundamental human need. You can make sure it’s there when they need it.
10. The Wish For Trust
Children can be disarmingly trusting of people; even complete strangers. But it’s likely that only those who have been betrayed or deceived will wish for trust. You can be honest, give them no reason to mistrust you.
11. The Wish For Home
Being adaptable, children can move around a lot on the whim of circumstance. But they need a comfortable, safe place to call home. You can try to give them that.
12. The Wish For Parents
Once again, their adaptability and experiences may mean that children do not necessarily yearn for a missing parent. But most will. All you can do is be there, and try to make sure your other half is too.
13. The Wish Not To Work Too Hard
Adaptable as they are, children should be allowed to be children: play, have fun, experiment. You can try to remember this, once they’ve finished washing up, mowing the lawn and building the latest extension.
14. The Wish To Learn
They might not admit it, but children want to learn new things. That’s why they play, explore, discover for themselves. You can let them be the human sponges they are, create environments and make games where they can make discoveries and learn new skills.
15. The Wish To Wish
Children want time to dream and wish. The school holidays in summer last about five years in child-time. Let them use some of that to be idle, to drift, to dream, to wish.
Featured photo credit: Smiling Eyes/Mark Hawkins via composedimages.co.uk