I’m curious to know what some of your favourite things are? But also, why are they your favourite things?
For example, why is your favourite colour blue? Or why is your favourite band, say, the Beatles? Why is your favourite food strawberry ice cream?
Is it just because, or is there a deeper meaning behind those things?
I started thinking about this because my eldest son’s favourite animal is, well, something rather wonderfully odd.
This summer, we took him to a place in Hong Kong called Ocean Park. It’s a theme park filled with all sorts of animal exhibits and aquariums. The main aquarium is spectacular. Filled with giant manta rays, sharks, octopuses, walruses, seals, and other giant fishy things.
But my son wasn’t interested in any of those. He only had eyes for one animal. And he searched for them inside every single tank.
Never mind the sharks and giant manta rays. Forget the massive walrus and the seals. The whole time he kept asking, “Daddy, where are the starfish?”
He absolutely loves them. We’ve been back several times and he’s always so excited to see them. And if you ask what his favourite animal is, that’s what he’ll tell you.
And, well, why not? I mean, an animal that is shaped like a star is pretty cool. I never really thought about it before.
My wife and I were a little perplexed at this strange fascination, to begin with, but after giving it some thought, I believe there’s a deeper connection.
He has a love for outer space. He can name all the planets and tell you some strange facts about them, like Venus is the hottest planet even though Mercury is closer to the sun.
I believe this stemmed from when we took him outside to look at the night-sky during the Full Moon festival here, when he was just 2 years old.
That evening the moon was spectacular. I recall him looking upward with such awe. It even frightened him. I remember holding him while he buried his eyes in my shoulder, occasionally peeking up to look at it before covering his eyes again.
I explained that the moon is our friend – always looking down on us. Sometimes we can only see part of it, sometimes we can’t see the moon at all, but it’s always there keeping watch while the sun attends to the other side of the earth.
Since that day, his fascination with the moon and space expanded. We read him lots of books on the topic. He loves looking up at the stars. He always asks where the moon and the planets are. For Halloween this year, he dressed up as an astronaut.
Now, I could be wrong. Maybe my son simply loves starfishes. But, I believe it has a lot to do with his love of the moon and all things space-related.
When I think about some of my favourite things, I realise there’s usually a deeper meaning hidden behind them. It’s just, I often forget it. My favourite colour is blue. When I think about why that is, I realise it’s because I have light blue eyes. As a kid, my parents used to tell me how beautiful they were. Weirdly enough I love drawing eyes too.
My favourite animal is the cheetah. I remember seeing it vividly as a kid on safari in South Africa. It was the first animal we saw on that trip. Within 5 minutes of driving into the reserve, we spotted this majestic cat. It was feasting on an Impala. I remember our guide explaining that it was the fastest land animal on earth. I just thought it was the coolest cat on the planet.
I still do.
There were lots of other memories from that trip. We followed a pack of lions as they hunted and killed a mongoose one evening. Our guide surprised us with a treehouse brunch overlooking the reserve on the last day. My family and I agree it’s our favourite holiday we ever did together.
I believe both my love of animals and travelling (another one of my favourite things) has a lot to do with that vacation.
I bring it up because it’s fast approaching my favourite time of year. And I thought, if you’re struggling to think about what to get your loved ones for Christmas this year, perhaps, instead of thinking about what they like, maybe it’s worth thinking about why they love the things they do?
It might just give you the inspiration you’re looking for. If nothing else, reminding yourself of the deeper meaning behind the things you love might just bring out the wonderfully unique, quirky child in you too.
You can find AP2’s personal blog here at: https://clear-air-turbulence.com
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