Whether you’re a parent, a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, or none of the above, you have to admit that children sure know how to brighten up your day. No doubt half of you will be missing seeing the kids in your life right now due to lockdown restrictions…and the other half of you (the parents) will be run ragged trying to keep them entertained 24/7.
Now I don’t have any children of my own yet, so I’m no expert. And living abroad, away from family and friends, means I don’t get to see my cousins’ and friends’ kids as often as I’d like. It also means they seem to grow up even quicker in between times when I do see them. That being said, everyone is pretty good at keeping me updated with photos and videos of what they are up to and all their new talents. They really do crack me up, and it got me thinking – imagine we did some of the things that kids do, but now, as adults?
At what age does it become socially unacceptable to do the things we used to do when we were 4 years old? Like just staying sitting on the ground when you fall down, like nothing happened. Or using your imagination to pretend a cardboard box is really a spaceship on its way to the moon.
I really think we could learn a lot from kids, and here’s why:
They say exactly what they want, when they want – Kids are so smart and yet innocent enough at the same time to say exactly what they feel at any given time – no frills: “I don’t want to play that game anymore”, “I don’t like that broccoli soup”, “your hair looks funny today”. Wouldn’t adult life be easier if we did the same thing? “I don’t want to go out tonight”, “I’d rather have the cheeseburger and fries please”, “I think you should wear the black t-shirt instead”.
They keep things short and sweet – My friend sent me a funny video recently of her little girl playing with a pretend mobile phone, and she both answered it and hung up on the imaginary person in the space of 4 seconds. Her conversation went something like this “Hello, oh hi, it’s you, ok bye bye”. Now I know she was just playing…but how much do you wish you could hang up the phone half of the time? She has the right idea if you ask me.
They’re determined – Resilience is something we seem to lose a little bit (or a lot) of as we grow up, which in turn leads us to sometimes lose determination and passion about something, out of fear of failure or rejection. Yet kids seem to bounce back so naturally and approach things with such determination. A friend sent me a hilarious video of her daughter trying to give their pet dog a kiss, who was having none of it, paying very little attention, and quite happy just lying where he was. But she continued reaching over, pouting her lips without giving up. Now I’m not saying we should all go around pouting our lips at people we want to kiss until they kiss us back (I’m not going that far to get myself a date!), but what a simple example of going after something you want!
They don’t pretend to be interested when they’re not – This is a bad habit we have as adults, where we’re too polite or empathetic to tell someone when we’re not interested in something, so we nod along, wasting everyone’s time. Yet this is something that even the tiniest babies have mastered. Us adults sing songs, play peek-a-boo and generally speak in a ridiculously high pitched tone trying to make them smile and laugh. And if they don’t find us funny, that blank stare we get back sure does let us know!
They wear whatever outfit they have on with confidence – whether it’s a clown-like outfit their mum put them in (thanks mum, you can tell I’m still not over that, even 29 years later haha) or an outfit they pick out themselves, kids have the confidence to wear whatever wild outfit combination they please. And the best bit, people still say “aww look, how cute”. Yet how many of us change top at least 3 times before leaving the house purely out of self-doubt?
They are fearless – my cousin is terrified of spiders, always has been. Yet her little boy has been cracking us up this week by being nature’s best friend, reaching out and touching spiders as if it was a big fluffy teddy bear. I love this about kids! They’re so brave and daring.
Adulting is damn hard, let’s not lie. So why not take the best bits of our childhoods and give them a comeback? A little bit of curiosity, imagination and creativity could go a long way.