Children have an unparalleled zest for life. It’s something that many adults lose sight of overtime. Every day that you are living is a day to greet with a passion for being alive, every second an opportunity for a new perspective on this world we live in. As we navigate our own paths, taking in new information and learning harsh truths, it’s easy to find yourself in a mental rut, and it’s no secret that learning to be a grown up can be rough. We find ourselves retreating to our youthful memories, and how simple it all used to be. One mistake we make, however, is to take that stroll down memory lane without remembering only what we used to do, and not the way we used to think. I’ve learned a lot about how to deal with my fresh adulthood by working with children, and truly studying their ideals in life. Here are six qualities I’ve been reminded of by learning from the kids I work with each day.
1. Don’t Let The Little Things Get You Down
A child is never sad for long. If something doesn’t go their way, a short pouting session will go down, followed by an immediate interest in the next thing on the agenda. Upon falling down, a child more often than not jumps back up, dusts themselves off, and continues on un-phased. It’s this kind of commitment to happiness that can transform your whole day. Once you understand that the little things fade, you can control just how long that little thing is going to remain on your conscience. Don’t sweat something minor, making it into something major. Take everything in stride, so you can focus instead on what’s yet to come.
2. Run Full Force
Children very rarely want to walk. They focus on a destination, and take off running. This is the kind of enthusiasm you need to retrain yourself to have. Why wait around for a sign, or a perfect moment, when you could be taking steps towards a goal now? So often we forget to put our whole self and effort into a project, or we wait too long and end up having to watch an opportunity pass us by. Seize every moment with vigor and excitement.
3. Imagine And Play
In the words of Ursula K. Le Guin, “The creative adult is the child who survived.” We often get tied down by the mundane routine of life, becoming comfortable in a pattern of work and responsibilities. What have you done lately to free your mind? What have you done lately to exercise your creativity? Imagination, like anything, gets better and better with practice. Children play and learn and create something everyday, and just because you’re older doesn’t mean you can’t too. Tapping into your inner child will help you become a more creative adult.
4. Say What You Feel
If a child doesn’t like something, you’ll hear about it. If something amazing is happening, their happiness is verbalized. This is something that adults struggle with. We often feel the need to hide our true feelings, whether it’s to not step on someone’s toes, or to appear cool, or to avoid conflict. At the same time, we always urge others to say what’s on their mind, and to stand up for themselves. It’s a lesson we learn over and over, but rarely apply. You’ll never know the answer to a question you never ask. You’ll never know the reaction you’ll get to something you never say. Children haven’t developed this filter yet, this fear of speaking up. We could all strive to be more honest about how we are truly feeling.
5. Learn Something New Everyday
Everything you know was new information at some point in your life. Kids start at the beginning, learning things as basic as letters and numbers. They go through school gaining more and more information, practicing new skills, and making new connections. This is the kind of mindset that you should try to hold onto throughout your life. Not being in school doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to learn. There are so many wonderful things in this world, it’s impossible to know it all. Everyday, make a goal to learn at least one new thing. Pick up a new language, watch a documentary about something you’ve never heard of, talk to someone you usually don’t, try an activity you’ve been curious about. There are so many ways to learn, there is really no excuse to go a day without a lesson.
6. Accept All
The most important thing I’ve observed from children is that they love all people. They do not think about race, gender, or status when meeting a new person. All they see is a potential friend, and all that they look for is kindness. This is the greatest concept of humanity that we as a species tend to lose sight of over time. It is adults that create stereotypes. It is adults that teach how to discriminate. We are all the same when it comes down to it, no matter what hand life dealt you. If children can grasp such a huge concept so easily, what is keeping us, with all of our wisdom and experience, from doing the same? At all times, and above all else, keep this perspective of respect and love for all with you everywhere you go.