It was snowing heavily in England. A weather warning was in place. I was looking into the probability of traffic disruption, extra time for de-icing the car and the possibility of school closures. I had a quick look again in the fridge to make sure I had enough grocery and at my car that looked decamped in a big mass of snow. My first reaction also included a check if my pavement was not too slippery and my kid’s shoes were suitable.
On realising the time, I rushed upstairs, to wake my kids up and told them to have a look outside. They jumped off their beds on my first call, opened the wooden blinds and started to scream in excitement for the radiant blanket of snow. They started showing each other how funny the cars seemed, how the barren trees looked smoky and the house roofs a slide, the trampoline looked like a white bed and the grass scattered pearls. Soon the window was opened to catch some snow and feel the wet, cold and bubble sensation it brought. I heard an announcement that they couldn’t wait to have a snowball fight with their friends followed by a wish there was enough snow for them to make a big snowman.
While I was thinking of the inconvenience, my children were planning to enjoy the fun and sports nature had magically brought at their doorsteps. The same source, the same situation and head start were giving rise to two opposite emotions.
I had a desire to look into the psychology behind this. How do children find happiness, when we adults misplace it on the way. Just like Gretel, I retrieved my footsteps down the memory lane, into my childhood in Pakistan.
A slight change of weather was a big deal, clouds and rain could cheer anyone up. There used to be a bucket challenge then too when on a very hot day, water was poured from the roof on people passing by; as a rule the more someone got angry, the more the likelihood of rain. It was one daring act, as I remember a few people who got irritated on uninformed, unofficial frankness who were all well dressed up and late for a date… Perhaps our idea was to be silly in such a way that one forgets all about hot weather for the time being.
If by a chance it became cloudy and rainy ( thanks to the upset passerby ). Every house had an aroma of ‘pakoras’ and ‘halwa’, to celebrate showers. Loud music was also played by youngsters to announce the party mode.
As a kid, I used to take some home cooked food to the neighbours and have a good gossip session. The weather was discussed and the plates were never returned empty, but with food as a gesture of courtesy.
The common ground I could relate to my children was a mindset of being nature-friendly. Kids accept the will of nature, get excited at every change and take it a mean to make the most in that little time. Their happiness is the fact that they are appreciative.
With a strong belief, all is well and that they are in a protected space. With a relaxed mind and laughing soul, they jump to share the joy with their friends. They don’t hoard the snow in greed but make it a medium to share and connect with others. The thought of making a snowball and feeling its flexibility does not give them a fear of frostbite. Feeling fearless they make a big heroic snowman, who is not afraid to stand out in cold….. it is a reward of giving it a shape of a friend, perhaps nature was feeling all lonely when the children didn’t come out to play, ever so often in winter.
Nature is giving the children the power to let go of the sunny spell and accept the bright and radiant alternative…a magical wonderland, with pixy dust and muffled silence.
Nature in snow is also warning to enjoy with care, to stay warm, to drink hot drinks, and to be cautious not to slip and fall. For happiness, if not handled with caution can turn into a great disaster.
An insight into the psychology of a child has given me an important awareness. Happiness is a choice! It is living every moment being thankful. It doesn’t come with a price tag, rather accepted with innocence and shared with generosity.
Happiness is multiplied with well-wishers and likewise celebrated with others. It is like a roller coaster ride, frightening, scary, challenging with elation, peace and feeling of being complete.
Joy is to take charge, pay attention to ties, be conscious, and keeping a bag of laughter for when things don’t go the way we planned…It is ‘to let go of what we cannot hold’… It is the freedom of liberation, that ‘we are not slaves but masters of our own fate’. It’s all about wisdom that;
‘we cannot direct the winds, but we can adjust the sails’.
Oh and I almost forgot to tell you… this was the first snowfall, I enjoyed the most almost childlike this time….it was reciprocated and it snowed the most this year.