I was in Texas about 2 weeks ago visiting some family. My 3 year old nephew is growing up so fast. Thankfully, I get to see him about twice a year. This time, he was the most interactive he’s ever been. It’s been fun to see him form his own opinions and personality, and watch how he interacts with the world.
Certain aspects of being an adult are great (like eating cookies before dinner), but it’s easy to forget what it’s like to be a kid. I try to hang on to some of my childlike traits. The one that never seems to leave me is that I’m very self-amused. I throw my head back and laugh a lot, even at really stupid stuff. I moved in with a new housemate at the end of the summer. He had to get used to my random solo outbursts of laughter from across the house. It got me thinking about what other childhood traits I want to keep as an adult.
Little kids have not been tainted by society in ways that adults have. They do not hold the same judgements, are not nearly as self conscious, and are very open-minded. However, they do not have the wisdom about situations that comes with age… I laugh when my cousin says, “I’m just trying to keep him from killing himself.” Kids do not live their live in fear which seems to seep into our brains the older we get. Fear is a necessary emotion for keeping us alive, but fear… fear is what holds us back from our dreams.
Here are some things I brought to the front of my mind after spending time with a 3 year old; ideas that are great reminders!
- Approach life with a curiosity
Sure, all the “but why?!” questions get annoying. However, kids have a genuine curiosity about the world that tends to fade as we get older. I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it’s simply that we don’t want to ask, or it’s not important. Being curious is fun and you are constantly learning when you pursue it. It can also get you into trouble!
- Dream BIG
You ask kids what they want to be when they grow up and they will shoot for the stars. Something changes through adolescence and we think we can’t do it. We lose confidence in what we can do, or we are afraid to try because we might fail. Dream big! If you want to be Superman when you grow up, do it!
- Laugh! Don’t take yourself too seriously
It’s easy to take ourselves too seriously as an adult. We worry what people think or what people will say. Having a playful outlook on life and laughing through your mistakes keeps things light. Kids are light-hearted creatures because they have an open mind. They find almost anything funny. They even think the sound of other people laughing is funny! Life should be fun. I love how kids aren’t self-conscious. They even will go running around with no clothes on! They’ll go face first into a piece of chocolate cake. They have zero concern what people will think of them if they simply act from their heart. Of course, we have to have some self restraint as adults. I like the practice of being myself and staying true to what I believe despite challenges or pressure from others. Try new things!
- Be Honest
Alright, white lies have their place here and there. I do tell my friends if they look fat in that pair of jeans they are trying on, but I might not tell a stranger. Kids are painfully honest sometimes. They are not only honest about what they think about you, but they are honest with what they think about themselves. I wonder if they think anything about themselves? I guess they do lie to get candy, but generally speaking, they tell it like it is. So many problems could be avoided in life and in relationships if people were honest with each other and themselves, and communicated what they were thinking. Mixed and hidden messages muddy up the water. It’s not always easy to say what you mean, but communicating what’s on your mind is key. Kids aren’t afraid to do that. They also aren’t afraid to writhe around screaming and kicking on the ground in public when they’re pissed…I don’t recommend that! WAH!
- Love your parents
Sounds simple! Kids rely on their parents for everything. Parents have to make so many sacrifices for their kids. Our parents made those sacrifices for us. We may not love them in the same way we did when we were 3, but having an appreciation for everything our parents did for us and valuing their opinion has its place in life. In general, kids love openly with their whole heart. They hopefully haven’t had bad experiences with getting hurt at such a young age so they love fully and without fear. The older we get, the harder it is to love. We are afraid.
Live without fear. Laugh your ass off. Love freely. Be yourself. Dream big!! Be a big kid!! Ride bikes!!!