Liam, my four-year-old grandson, is curious about the planets, overturns rocks to pick up any bugs that don’t move fast and chooses to release his highly prized lightening bug from the jar – “because he is lonely.”
Each afternoon on the playground when his name is called for pick up, Liam runs to his two best friends, Isaiah and Anna Noelle, to give each one a hug goodbye.
The child is curious, affectionate, loving and kind.
Liam is also selfish. Supremely so.
He is intent and purposefully fights like hell to get what he wants, when he wants it and how he wants it.
How glorious to watch an individual strive to arrange the world to meet his expectations and revel in happiness when it all goes his way!
After a five-day visit last week what’s obvious is that my drive and skills to live the life I want pale in comparison to Liam’s passion. This is a big surprise because I don’t shy away from identifying and acting on my needs and wants. (You can look forward to details on this.)
Liam will lose his lust and urges for putting himself first in the next few years. Teachers, parents, the system, culture – all will tell him bad things about selfishness. The stigma of putting himself front and center in his life will inhibit his zest for fighting for what he wants.
That’s happened to millions of people who now tell me they look forward to life after retirement so they can “do what they want when they want” or “finally live the life they want.”
Well what do you know? A last ditch effort to get a life we want. Like bookends on a life, selfishness emerges.
But after all the years living without putting ourselves first, perhaps we can use Liam for inspiration and even skill building.
Ready to learn from someone who just hopped out of toddlerhood?
Here we go. (more…)