My four year old came home in a police car

One morning last week, around 6:30am, the police were standing at the front door with our four-year old son. He had climbed out the living room window, in his pyjamas, bare foot, and gone for a walk, hoping to find the toy shop. I can only presume he was sleep walking. The rest of us were happily in our beds, none the wiser that he had left the house!

This is the most surreal thing that has ever happened to us, even to think about it now makes me shiver. We are so grateful for the bus driver who spotted our son in his black and white skeleton pyjamas; so grateful for the policemen who drove him home and gave him a scarf to keep him warm; so grateful for the database that meant he was brought home quickly with only a first name and a birthday to search by; and so grateful that only a couple of people asked why the window wasn’t locked!

In the days before and after, I feel like everything I read and listen to has contained a message about gratitude. Tony Robbins morning rituals on gratitude; Brene Brown on joy and gratitude; the science behind gratitude; the gratitude practised in Robin Sharma’s book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, and so on.

The reason he starts his day with gratitude, Robbins explains, is because of its ability to overpower the dangerous emotions that can sidetrack us.

“The two emotions that mess us up the most are fear and anger, and you can’t be grateful and fearful simultaneously. They don’t go together,” Robbins says. “And you can’t be angry and grateful simultaneously.”

There have been fleeting moments when I have let fear and guilt take over, since our son’s ‘trip to the toy shop’, but I have caught them in time and I think it has much to do with a conscious effort to practice gratitude.

It’s too easy to let ourselves be drawn into fear, and ‘what ifs’, rather than focus on how grateful we are for positive events which happen to us every day. I don’t believe you need to download a gratitude app, or buy a gratitude diary, just add a structure or reminder to your day to start practising, if you don’t already.

I’m also grateful that he didn’t find the toy shop, he would have been very disappointed to find it closed!

sally powell