The Inner Child

My son once asked me what it was like to be old.  My immediate reaction was to burst out laughing (I had recently turned 30 at the time, hardly ancient in my book), much to his chagrin.  

But it made me think.  What is it like to be old?  Years ago, I had the privilege of working with seniors as an occupational therapist.  My clients were recovering from a variety of conditions: strokes, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries.  Some clients just found themselves increasingly unable to do simple activities of daily living.  After we got to know one another, I told them of the question my son had asked me years before.  

What is it like to be old?  Surprisingly, no-one was offended by this question, although many people did laugh, just as I had.  In a variety of ways, they all said essentially the same thing.  

That who you are when you are younger is who you are when you are older, only with more life experience. Someone who is outgoing, exuberant and lively will continue to be so even in an aging body.  Someone who is more cautious and observant will still have those characteristics.

This is not to say that we aren't changed by our life experiences, we absolutely are.  Our families, the social climate, technology, all of that has an impact.  Most importantly, the relationships we have with people we are close to play an enormous role in shaping who we are.  

So essentially we are every age we have ever been, all at the same time.  

So how is this relevant to the children in our lives?  By letting our playful side come out, we set an example of how to use the lessons of childhood throughout our lives.  By tapping into our inner toddler who is learning how to explore.  By calling on our inner 9 year old who is discovering the wonder of science.  Our inner teenager reminds us of the importance of friendship.  

In doing so, we rediscover the joy of life, and encourage our children to do the same.  

Moira Sullivan

Moira uses a holistic approach that promotes healthy development in the child while honoring and supporting their relationship with their family and the community. A graduate of San Jose State University, she has advanced training in sensory integration, visual perception and visual-motor integration, DIR Floortime, oral motor rehabilitation, strength and endurance training, and myofascial release.