Having been a father for exactly a week now, I am clearly qualified to impart all kinds of paternal wisdom. But the wisdom is not mine - it is the baby's. As Will and Kate will no doubt discover, their little princess' grasp of what's important in life, will be more akin to an old yogi or bearded professor than an infant waiting to 'grow up.'
So here are five life lessons from my daughter Grand Master Seren, after a week of being on this Earth:
1. Respect Women - Newborn babies are perfect testimony to the miracle of childbirth, and the awesomeness of women. For anyone who has shared the sacred space of a pregnant woman, been privileged to share the labouring and delivery process, will immediately appreciate the special and spiritual realm that women take on this Earth. The fact that we do not afford women more respect, dignity and compassion for childbirth alone is one of society's greatest modern travesties.
2. Be Present - There is no greater gift than to be present, and newborn babies are the greatest teachers in what it means to be truly in the moment. The world of regret and nostalgia is non-existent for newborns. Thoughts of 'If only she dressed me in the panda outfit yesterday' simply don't exist. Ambitions and aspirations are also nonsensical in the newborn world - why reach to the future when there is so much magic to discover in the present? 'How am I feeling right now?' 'What do I need right now?' We could all do with tuning in to these powerful questions.
3. Basic Human Needs - I could write a novel called 50 Shades of Poo after this first week, but these most fundamental of functions is a reminder of how we adults have a habit of overcomplicating life. There is nothing, absolutely nothing more important than meeting our basic human needs. When these needs are met, as newborns teach us, life can be blissfully happy. If we focused less on the retina display ipads and more on the vision of a world where all people's basic needs are met, we will all be happier as a result.
4. Non-Verbal Communication - Newborn babies communicate so much without words. They are able to tell you when they are hungry, tired, or simply want a cuddle. They cry, whimper, and growl in different tones, fluent in the same language used by babies across continents - one of the few universal languages that remain. But it is when they make no sounds at all - the sound of silence - that they communicate the most. With their fixated eyes alone, they can share the secrets and mysteries of the universe. When we shut up and listen, we remember that 80% of all human communication is nonverbal, and it is where the magic happens.
5. We Were All Babies Once - It's a simple thing to forget. All of us: Sir Alex Ferguson, President Obama, and even the the Boston Bomber. We were all squiggling and squirming, staring and being sick, in need of love and other basic needs. While this doesn't excuse or explain any of the choices we make as adults, newborns remind us that at a fundamental level we are all deeply connected. Before we brand anyone as 'other', we might remember that all 7billion of us are brothers from other mothers and sisters from other misters. And when we think of our so-called enemies as wrinkly babies in need of a hug, we suddenly stop taking the world too seriously. And that's probably the greatest lesson of them all.
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