Sometimes it’s hard to know what the best things in life are. When you strive to make your life happier you can get waylaid by shiny things that promise to give you happiness – nice clothes, better car, more luxurious holidays but are they really the best things? Of course we then might think a bit closer to home – our own homes for example, or our family and friends and of course they can give us more happiness. But are they even the best things in life?
‘The best things in life aren’t things’ was a quote I heard recently from Bear Grylls in his interview with Piers Morgan on TV and it’s such a brilliant quote. Of course I’m sure he was meaning that people are the best things not the stuff we accumulate that seems to mean so much at the time and then of course becomes something else to clutter up the home.
When I think about vulnerable children who’ve had a difficult start in life I know that when it comes down to it the basic needs in life are actually the things that matter. Maslow stated in his Hierarchy of Needs that we all have to experience each layer of the pyramid before we can attain the next. Our basic needs are food, water, air, shelter, sleep which gives us safety and security which in turn helps us to feel loved and that we belong, we then have good self esteem and can finally develop a strong sense of purpose, creative thinking and find meaning. Without each layer the next is impossible to achieve. When children don’t have the basics in life like adequate food and shelter, love and warmth from consistent carers and reliable people who can meet their needs, they get stuck in those areas and find it hard to develop.
When you watch those survival programmes like Bear Grylls or I’m a Celebrity get me out of here – they spend such a lot of time and energy worrying and thinking about those basic needs. It actually starts to consume them. And when they have days of not eating enough it affects every area of their lives. When I think about my children who have had good meals for 10 years now but they still worry about there being enough food, or whether they can trust us enough to open up to us. The lack of those basic needs is such a strong thing that becomes part of our very fibre, it’s engrained in us and takes many, many years to change.
So the best things in life are not things – they are people of course but they are also those basic needs that keep us alive. And when you come down to it the things you miss when you don’t have them are those little basics like warmth on a cold day or the breeze in the sun, a good meal with those who love you and a lovely cup of tea in the morning. So let’s be grateful today for what we have, and for those adoptive parents out there remember when times are difficult with your children maybe getting back to basics is what is needed. A good meal together, sleep, warmth, laughter and the safety and security they crave for.