According to writer, Paulo Coelho, “a child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.”

When my daughter Mia and her daughter, Alma Louise, who will be four in August, came to live with me at the start of the pandemic, there were many practical considerations. Only after settling into a routine, did reflections of life with a young child become apparent.

Though we had spent an inordinate amount of time together up until now, the chance to spend this additional time together seemed like an excellent opportunity to teach and show this young mind so much. Of course, the first thing I realized… is how much she had to teach me.

Lesson number one: Seeing the world through her eyes was just what I needed during this unprecedented time. With so many unknowns, staying in the present, which is the natural state for a young child, is the only place to be.

Lesson number two: As Paulo Coelho’s quote states: “we can be happy for no reason!” A young child’s joy is contagious. They can giggle at the simplest, silliest joke, squeal with delight when discovering a flower bud has bloomed and spontaneously give the best hug ever. Even during a pandemic, we can and must have moments of sheer joy.

Lesson number three: Again, Paulo Coelho, “to always be busy with something.” Young children are doers. They are always ready to be creative. For them, every activity, real or imaginary, can be an adventure worthy of one’s full attention. I literally can tune out the chaos of the world when my granddaughter wants to play “pretend” Christmas or go exploring in the woods on a rainy day.

In reality, I am learning and experiencing many new lessons as I navigate this time in the company of a child. And as I face the challenges of today’s world – with each day bringing yet more news of concern – these lessons are serving me well.