Intuitive at age 6
Years ago, at 6 years of age, my son met a man I had been dating for several months for the first time. A proud mother, I watched the exchange between the two. I beamed as my son remembered all of his manners, made eye contact, and shook his hand. He even stuck around to chat for a few minutes, before skipping off to continue his battlefield duties with GI Joe. Later, I entered my son’s room to ask him what he thought of my new beau. Truthfully, I was expecting to hear enthusiasm. Instead, he looked down at his hands which were carefully manipulating his small GI Joe figurine, and said, “Well, I don’t know Mom. There’s just something about him I guess I don’t really like. I don’t know what it is…sorry.” After witnessing what I am sure was a disappointed and confused expression on my face and not wanting to see his mother unhappy, my son stammered with his words, trying to soften what he said. But his truth was out there, and I let him know that I was appreciative of his honesty.
A sixth sense
At the time I had been fully immersed in the day-to-day responsibilities of single motherhood. Like most of us, I was living my life fully ensconced in the world of the 5 senses—sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Or more accurately, you could say I was juggling bills, maintaining a home, being a mom, and yes, dating. Yet undeniably, there exists another sense in our human experience: intuition. Intuition is a strong sense of knowing that is not typically explainable through logic, reasoning, or past experience. It has also been referred to as a “sixth sense”.
My son’s sense that something was off about the person I was dating was dead on. It wasn’t long before I learned this man had a hidden and slightly disturbing past, in addition to a self-serving personal philosophy and other odd quirks, all of which culminated in my decision to move on. Looking back, it became clear to me that my desire for a relationship, combined with being busy and distracted, had blocked my ability to accurately perceive and acknowledge the signs that were there all along.
Open mind or open heart?
Malcom Forbes (1919-1990) Publisher of Forbes Magazine once said, “Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” Yet in my opinion, education doesn’t always open the mind. The problem is, the more that young heads are filled with facts, figures, and opinions (because every teacher colors what they teach with their own perspectives), the higher the chance they can be pulled away from their deepest and purest source of information: “gut instinct”. What some consider an open mind could more accurately be described as an “open heart”. Early on, children are strongly inclined to act and react from the “gut”, or even what we might call the “heart” or soul versus the mind. Had my son thought about my reaction before sharing, I have no doubt I would have received a different answer—one based on making me feel better versus sharing his feelings honestly and openly with me.
My young daughter’s inclination to be friendly is so natural that she even approaches most adults without fear, despite my attempts to teach her to be wary. Yet I observed throughout her toddlerhood her uncanny awareness of family members and friends who were not so comfortable with children. When they visited, she instinctively would keep her distance, choosing instead to climb all over those more accepting, throwing dolls in their laps and waving books in their politely smiling faces. Not long ago, she befriended a new preschool classmate on the playground. Other children instructed her not to play with the new girl because she “looked different”. My daughter ignored them and became close friends with the new girl. She was baffled by the behavior of the other children, who also chose to ostracize her.
So we must ask ourselves in any situation whether our motivations feel pure and true to us or whether fear, insecurity, competition, or other agendas or ideas we have learned or absorbed are influencing us, even subconsciously. As we grow into adulthood, our minds increasingly intercept and filter those gut-level instincts and intuitive impressions, often to our own detriment. We would all be wise to recapture the child-like purity of heart once again.