The truest human being does not hold back
Events are received, reactions poured out
No masks, no filters no cutting of slack
A smile is a smile a pout is a pout
Speaks her desire, points out what you lack
The simplest of people, those unrefined
Feel all things fully see all things truly
Test to the limit till boundaries defined
Questions profusely plainly and cruelly
Active, dynamic and self-inclined
A person untouched by another mind
Lives freely but poorly, a slave to self
And fully dependent on their own kind
Won’t read any books but climbs up the shelf
Thinks they know better than laws that will bind
No one exists in a purer sanity
And nothing paints the epitome of humanity
Better than a toddler and her snack
The truest human being does not hold back
Have you ever felt like you were being stepped on? Like your voice wasn’t being heard or like everything you do is in vain because it’ll be torn down the moment you turn around? If you answered yes to all of these questions- you probably have a toddler at home. I’m sure you’ve heard the labeling of the toddler years as “the terrible twos” but I would like to reframe that into “the truest twos”.
A toddler does not regulate emotions, does not hold back their desires or their dislikes, they simply happen and we can do very little about it except allow them to go through whatever they’re going through and let them learn slowly day by day that the world does not end because they can’t reach a toy on the table. A toddler is the most openly self-centered human being that exists. They don’t know it yet, but to you and I, it is obvious.
It’s very easy to get worn out by the tantrums and constant demand for attention. The stress can be so great that we sometimes lash out in frustration with loud voices, and abrupt body language. I am a very introverted person, as a kid I remember not having many friends at school and spending many recesses just walking around the playground alone. At times I did feel lonely but most of the time it didn’t really bother me. I enjoy silence, the natural sounds of nature and spending time reflecting on things that I find important in life. I’m the type of person who could live on an isolated mountain away from civilization and not be bothered one bit. My downfall though is at times becoming a bit of a hermit and distancing myself from others. I need alone time in order to recharge and stay emotionally sane so having someone who constantly needs my full attention day in and day out can be incredibly draining and challenging. Sometimes I feel I’m at my wits end and any little thing irritates me.
However one thought has changed my perspective deeply: mostly I am the same as my toddler. The only difference is that I have learned how to control my emotions, how to filter the words I say and how to rationalize my wants and needs. I may not break down in sobs because my panda goes out of sight for two seconds, or throw a fit of rage because I can’t eat my shoe, but I still have very strong emotions. What has changed are the events that trigger my emotions. My desires have changed from wanting to jump on the couch to buying a new teapot or going on a trip. A child’s constant need for attention is selfish but my constant need for alone time can be just as selfish. A child does need attention and people like myself do need alone time but when we value the need for attention or inattention above anything else it becomes selfish. A child is blind to his selfishness but it is the nature he is born with regardless. It is the nature we are all born with and we are helpless against it without the freeing life of Christ that helps us see.
The reality is that YOU too are the same as your toddler. You may not be three feet tall or make funny faces in the mirror but the needs of your heart are still the same. What God sees many times when He looks at us is a toddler that doesn’t understand why things are happening and is freaking out for absolutely no reason. Just as you, mom and dad, know that cleaning and disinfecting a wound is important for healing, God knows that certain situations in life, even though they are painful, are necessary for our own good. However, how does a toddler react to the stinging burn of hydrogen peroxide on a wound? The moment that first drop hits, the world ends in an apocalyptic horror that just goes on and on with no end in sight. The little one will flail, push and pull away from you, maybe even hit you. At this moment in time, you are a very bad person because the only thing they can see is that you are causing them pain. Finally, once the wound stops bleeding and is clean it’s time to put a bandage on, and this is where the fun begins. That bandage will stay on a total of maybe one minute before it’s torn off, and what often happens after is the wound will reopen several times before it finally heals. In the same way, we scream, we stomp our feet, we question and we often times rebel and run away from God when our lives don’t seem to be going the right way. Sure we don’t do these things literally, but rather internally, which can be more dangerous. A toddler screams when they are in pain, they call attention to themselves and many will rush to their aid. Adults can be half way dead inside but will not make a sound and will many times parish inside themselves because they refuse to open their hearts to others.
We both (toddlers and adults) need God’s unconditional love and grace to guide us and to help us see our faults and our needs. It is our job to point children to Christ, to help them see that they need Him, that only He can fulfill and complete every part of them. We as adults have the responsibility to seek Him and to allow Him to rule our hearts, or our hearts which are lost and blind will rule us just as the heart of a child rules them.
A toddler is the truest form of a human being. Study him well and you will see reflections of yourself, you will learn that you have not really changed much. Love them well and you will receive a pure, undefiled love in return. A love from a heart who does not know the risk of loving. This, toddlerhood, is the time when humans do not hide, when the soul is worn on the outside. As bold as a bolt of lightning and as loud as thunder. I know that right now, the little elbows that constantly jab you in the thigh are painful, but it only lasts for an instant. This is when you can really see your child, when you can freely hold and receive them in every way. Don’t miss out because soon they will find that people keep their hearts inside. Their heart, that right now, they hold in their hands for you to take. Do not make a mistake and focus only on the blood staining the floor.