A few of my favourite things

Every so often it's good to take stock of where you are at and where you think you're going.

When writing this weekly column, I can sometimes feel I'm going around in circles touching on the same old stuff.

Except, it was pointed out to me by a reader recently, that the children who were teens when I started writing are now in their early 30s and parents themselves; while, 16 years on, the babies of the day are now giving their parents teenage grief.

For these parents, it's ''fresh stuff''.

So this week I'll roll out my favourite list of things that still make children happy, even in this more material world and after a decade and a-half of amazing technological advances.

This list is based on people's own experiences of happy moments in their childhood and it's surprising how timeless it is.

 Ian Munro 



Happiness for children ...

• Doesn't come from buying them things or showering them with false praise

• comes with success, whether it be from learning to ride a bike, building something with play bricks or old cardboard cartons, or scoring a goal with parents watching

• comes from struggling to get it right without Mum and Dad doing it for you, from standing on your own two feet

• is being allowed to get it wrong before you get it right

• is being able to make a mess and get dirty: mud, playdough, paints, felt pens, splashing in the bath

• is making scones in the kitchen and seeing your bean seeds sprout in the garden

• comes from learning to clean up after yourself and to take responsibility for the things you do

• does not come from over-protectiveness. It's being able to fall out of a tree or a race down in a trolley

• is bedtime stories, cuddles and playing with Dad

• sitting together on the couch on a wild, wet night watching a family movie or snuggled in bed with Mum and Dad on a cold winter morning or in a thunderstorm

• is crazy jokes, silly games and lots and lots of laughter

• is the extended family, grandparents or other adults important to you in your life

• is hide and seek, board games, building sandcastles, the swings and seesaws at the local park and learning to look after a pet

• feeding ducks and watching chickens break out of their shells

• is a new book from the library and somewhere comfortable to read it

• is family celebrations to look forward to and the traditions that go with them that create excited anticipation

• is being able to start doing things for yourself and being allowed to take responsibility for things

• is knowing that you are loved regardless 


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