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It is in times like these that we need to look, to our children, for the kind of lessons that will sustain us, and our businesses.
I recently rigged up a 25 metre, three-rope bridge, between one tree and another. Our 8 year old boy, Lliam, looked at the bridge and whooped with delight. Within seconds he was up the tree and on to the bridge. He soon worked out his balance, and how to place his feet. Within in minutes he was in the 2nd tree.
A small hand began to tug, at my leg. It was Kailash, who is only 2 years and 9 months old. “Put me up!” he demanded. “I want to go on the bridzz! (Bridge.)
I looked at him and thought, “He can’t do it. What if he falls?”
Another persistent tug. “Put me UP!”
I simply had to give him a chance. I leaned down and raised the tiny bundle to the ropes. He immediately grabbed the ropes, placed his feet one behind the other, and took off.
He screamed excitedly, “I can do it! I can do it.” Within moments, he was in the tree. He had taken his incredible self belief - and my trust in him - and done something that few adults would attempt.
He showed me that our experience in life has two aspects to it. One helps us to create knowledge and make great judgements. The other, is that our past experience, can unfortunately keep us “safe” from going to the next wonderful level.
It is here where decisions are made that seriously limit our opportunities and successes.
Kailash teaches is that it is in our ability to trust people, a long time before we believe they can achieve great things, that we will find our next band of leaders. And it is in our ability to trust ourselves, and to take chances, that we will find ways to succeed and flourish in these wonderful testing times!
Kailash’s older brother has also taught us many lessons. The following story comes from a much earlier time in Lliam’s life.
Lliam and the drip. 8 September 2002.
So many of my life’s lessons are pouring in from my son. He has been in hospital now for 8 days. His body has been invaded by a strong and nasty virus which is causing vomiting and gastro-enteritis.
The medical team that has cared for him has been incredible and hopefully today is the day when he comes home. We have missed him at a level that I never believed possible.
Tiny 18 month old Lliam has shown me how it is possible to live a great life in the worst possible circumstances. He weighs 11 kgs and has had a really upside down week.
He is in a strange clinical environment. He doesn't know anyone around him. He has been on a drip. Jabbed with numerous sharp instruments. At times allowed nothing in liquid or food by mouth. Has been confined to a jail-like cot and often separated from mom and dad. He has been fed a smorgasbord of powerful medicines. His one hand was swollen from the drip, the other, connected to the drip, was bandaged to a board to prevent movement.
And yet he lives life in the moment. He is sad when we leave for the night and, his nurses tell us, moments later he begins to play with his toys. He will bring up the little food that he has eaten, and without a murmur carries on playing. No tears, no complaints.
The greatest lesson for us was when Lliam decided that enough was enough. He needed to have some fun. He jumped off my lap and made as if to go for a walk. We hurriedly got permission to power down his drip. Then the fun began!
Lliam went for a run! His mum held his hand and I chased behind with the drip - on it's wheeled stand! The tube was still attached to a vein in his hand. Up and down the passages he went. Running and skipping. Laughing and shouting. He clapped his hands at times and joyfully screamed, “Yeah, Yeah!”
This went on for so long that Mum and Dad nearly needed a drip! Eventually he tired enough for us to walk behind him. And then he allowed us to take him back to his cot, power up the drip and allow the life-giving fluid and healing medicines to flow into him once more.
Luckily for Lliam he doesn’t spend his time in the past, or in self-pity, or focussed on what is bad in his life. Lliam lives in the now and does what he wants to do regardless of what life has served up.
He has forgiven the nurses their needles. He has forgotten his illness and still loves us even though we had to leave him and go home at night.
I wish for all of us Lliam and Kailash's love of life and their ability to always rise above their circumstances.
I wish for all of us their incredible love and forgiveness. It is in our children that our greatest freedom and wisdoms live! It is for us to observe and learn and to use their wisdoms in our own live’s.
Thanks “Lala” and Kailash, for bringing such wonder and great lessons to us.
Brian Moore - Mthimkhulu Training© 11 May 2009 Durban, South Africa.