“Our first teacher is our own heart.”

– Cheyenne Native American proverb
Tree Tunnel Road in Kauai, Hawaii
Tree Tunnel Road in Kauai, Hawaii

Every child is born instinctively listening to his or her heart.  They know what makes them feel good or bad, loved or hurt, safe or scared.  No one has to tell them these things – they simply know.

Their heart teaches them about the world around them in ways we never can, often in ways we’ve long forgotten.  It takes hard work to continue listening to your heart as you get older when the noise around you grows louder every day…

Well intentioned parents who insist you hug Aunt Millie despite your reluctance.  The urge to follow friends even if their choices run counter to your own instincts.  The pressure we put on children when we insist they smile pretty, stand up straight, stop crying, be nice instead of saying I understand, it’s okay to be sad, take your time, you don’t need to pretend to be happy today.

All of the little ways we influence our kids – to fit in, to act right, to be the children we expect them to be – it all pushes them away from listening to their heart.  Their first teacher.  The one that will always tell them truth.

I look at this picture of Tunnel Road and think of my life…how the road stretches out before me, ready for my journey, welcoming me as I am.  I’m trying hard to listen to my heart, and I hope I can teach my kids to do the same.