Gentle Hands

“Gentle hands,” my sister says to my nephew as she passes him a delicate angel ornament. She has been teaching him many lessons about sharing, tidying up and how to use gentle hands. Her lesson caught my attention and became a discipline I could practice in my life.  

Brix is one-and-a-half years old and is a busy little guy who needs to explore everything in sight. He loves construction machinery, storybooks, all things nature and cooking in his kitchen like Mom and Dad do. When playing he literally leaves no stone unturned. He’ll empty cupboards, push over logs used as makeshift tables at my parents trailer, and look for food anywhere he can find it. My sister and brother-in-law understand the importance of teaching him how to use gentle hands – a lesson in respect for both objects, nature and in play.

Every night before bed, Brix walks over to the tall dresser where the angel ornament is displayed. Mom follows behind. His attention is fixed on her movements as she reaches for the angel far above his eye-line. He waits patiently with hands opened, ready to receive with anticipation. “Gentle hands,” she whispers, as if it were a bed time lullaby. Brix carries the angel into his crib and cradles her gently before being tucked into bed. 

What an adorable and meaningful bedtime routine! Not only is Brix learning how to be gentle with precious objects, but he is also learning how to treasure something. For a busy little guy he is learning to slow down, focus his attention and enjoy one precious thing at a time.

To me, Brix’s bedtime routine is significantly more than just a toddler teaching moment. It is a reminder to slow down, to focus on and enjoy one precious thing at a time. Imagine how much more gratitude and fulfilment we would experience in life if we all did this? I envision hearing my sister’s voice, “Gentle hands” the next time I notice a bird chirping. Like my nephew, I would stop what I was doing, look up to find a small bird perched on the top branch and, in that moment, be reminded that nature still has a song to sing.

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