Well the election campaigning is over and a new government will soon be in the making.

As I write a few days before election day, politicians are all still making promises to make our lives better. I have never made any secret of my passion for social justice and equality and I hope that whoever has now won the election will advance these issues.

But the election campaign for me revealed a truth that was barely spoken about: that whatever group of politicians control the reins of power, there are many things about our lives that they cannot influence.

One of these is how we lead our lives spiritually. I don’t mean this necessarily in a religious sense, but rather in the sense of how we engage with the wonderful gift of living and connect to the sense of awe that every child has.

Yesterday in the rain I watched as my one-year-old played in a puddle. She spent 10 minutes watching how the water clung to her boots, how the ripples in the water changed the reflection of herself. She enjoyed the noise and the spectacle of the splashing water. She was experiencing something that many grown-ups have lost: a sense of awe at the wonderful yet often simple things around us.

In a way this is understandable. As we grow up, the claws of consumerism quickly pierce our souls and soon we find our gaze distracted from the wondrous world around us towards stuff that is made and its price. The advertisers’ bling highjacks our sense of awe, just as rabbits are caught in a headlight. And so we ‘grow up’ and too often this means our joy in being is replaced with a desire to have.

Yet often we begin to understand something when on this journey: that the insatiable drug of getting stuff, then more stuff, then more upgraded stuff, will never really make us as happy and engaged as a one-year-old splashing in a puddle.

And herein lies my point about politicians and your happiness. In all their sound bites, their electioneering promises about funding this or cutting that, there is a core part of ourselves that really holds the key to having a fulfilled life. If we find the time to pause, step out of the noise, absorb the gift of being, and notice the wonders that daily surround us, then we can share that joy of the one-year-old.

And if we nurture that sense of awe with the children we have in our lives then we are not only enriching their experiences and spiritual connections, but also our own. And they can last and be taken into adulthood as powerful inheritance.

This was illustrated by a story recently told to me by Sharon Saunders. We were talking and our conversation led us to discuss the eclipse that took place a few weeks ago. For most people, of course, this was a fascinating spectacle, but for Sharon it was also something more. It connected her to her childhood and her loving dad.

Sharon explained: “My Dad had a love of the universe and where we came from. He was an ex-Glasgow kid, born in the 30s to a family who didn’t have much – one of seven.

He learnt to enjoy and relish the things that came free in life i.e. the great outdoors, adventure, mystery, imagination etc. He brought that into his parenting role when he became a dad to three children.

I grew up enjoying the sheer fun and adventure of old ruined castles, old churches, beaches, woodlands, mountains, museums, libraries – all filled with learning, laughter and love.

The eclipse reminded me of my Dad’s love of the dark skies and big spaces he taught us to enjoy. My dad died in September 2014 and I know he would have been as excited as any child in the face of the near total eclipse in March – and he’d have made sure that even as adults, his children revelled in the moment.

I remember being a wee five-year-old girl in the late 60s when my dad took me outside to see an eclipse. Whether it was a total solar or lunar eclipse I can’t recall – but I clearly remember and feel the excitement of being outdoors, wrapped up to keep warm, with my sister (age eight) and my dad in the dark and waiting for light to return. I don’t remember where mum was – ‘big space’ was dad’s thing and hence it’s such a cherished memory.

Dad served in the old ‘National Service’ regime after the war and he had an old navy telescope, which came with rotating lenses attached at the front, which meant that we could properly and safely observe the sky at night (Don’t ask me where he got that old telescope from!). Growing up, we’d often look at the sky at night and wonder about the stars, with dad teaching us about the constellations and the ‘seas’ on the moon – watching for shooting stars.

So, when a natural wonder happened, there’s was no way he was going to let us miss it – even as kids. Needless to say, when the time came a year or two later we watched lots of media coverage about the moon landing... and don’t mention Concorde at Prestwick Airport in 1973, another great adventure!” Sharon is the head of children’s wellbeing at East Lothian Council’s resources and people services. Despite her qualifications, she sees her dad’s nurturing as the foundation of her commitment to children’s wellbeing.

She said: “I know how lucky I was as a child to have the influence of a parent who valued what the world had to offer his children as free learning experiences. I guess for all early years practitioners and people working in the children’s sector, that’s what we wish for all our children.” Here is where we have the power to make a difference to our children’s lives, and indeed our own, regardless of which set of politicians wins office. It is not to deny the importance of political decisions, but to recognise the vital influence played by our own way of being.

And storytelling is a vital part of all this. Och, you would say that, you may say. But stories wrap a moment in memory, especially when retold. The exact happenings of such moments often get shrouded in the mist of time, but that doesn’t matter. It’s the emotion and the connection that matters.

And this can be especially important for children who lack a secure attachment within their family relationships. It is sadly reckoned that around a third of children in our society lack this most vital foundation for their future wellbeing. Stories can provide that safe space to explore in metaphor the emotions and anxieties, and find ways of understanding feelings. Stories are a passport to wild imagination, to noticing things and making sense of them, of holding a small natural treasure in the hand and feeling that sense of awe.

As Sharon’s story reveals, nothing can compare to a grown-up who shares this sense of awe and nourishes it. I thought of her story about her dad as I sat with my five-year-old last weekend, by a campfire and under an almost full moon. We were celebrating Beltane and our only neighbours were ancient trees. The moon was bright enough to cast our shadows and I realised that, for more than 50 years, I’d never really noticed a moon shadow before.

We made shadow shapes with our hands in the semi-darkness and then we both danced with our moon shadows. It was the stuff of magic and I hope that my daughter, when she grows up, will also remember that moment in the moonshine, and the laughter and connection it forged.

And so now that we can get a break from politicians telling us that they have the remedy for our wellbeing, let us remember we also have that power and responsibility. Let’s stop being too grown up and allocate time for what is really important.

Last week, a young boy at a primary school came up to me after I had told stories in his class.

“I want to be a storyteller when I grow up,” he said, then added, “because that means I don’t really have to grow up.” Amen to that.