I really like it when children come into the library. They bounce in with enthusiasm, often bringing laughter and joy in their wake. Have you noticed that children tend to enjoy life in all its fullness? Do you wonder why that is? What do young children know that we adults seem to have forgotten? What can we learn from them about living? Quite a lot actually, but here are my top 5
1. How to Live Spontaneously
Children do not plan ahead. They live spontaneously, embracing every opportunity that presents itself to them. Obviously they don’t have adult type responsibilities to deal with, but I think that we can still learn from them. It is so easy to get caught up in our schedules and pass up golden opportunities, because they weren’t part of our to do list. Perhaps we need to follow our children’s lead and seize those precious moments when they come along.
2. How to live in the present moment
Children don’t worry about things like how the day will turn out, or how many toys they can play with in one day. They don’t replay the day and wish they had spent more time playing with the blocks and less with the cars. They don’t berate themselves because they didn’t eat enough fruit. In fact, children don’t worry about anything—at all. They don’t dwell on the past or future, but live in the present moment. That is such a calm place to be and we would do well to imitate them.
3. How to be authentic
Children don’t feel the need to explain themselves. They don’t change or filter their behavior to look a certain way around others. They don’t even worry about what others think. Instead they are totally authentic—what you see is what you get. Isn’t it a shame that this starts to change as we grow up? Perhaps it’s time to reclaim the joy of being genuine and stop worrying about what others think of us.
4. How to Enjoy Life’s Simple Pleasures
Have you ever watched a child play for ages with a cardboard box? Children are not caught up in the materialism of the world, and the need to be entertained by the latest gadget. They enjoy whatever they have on hand. In fact they actually play better if they have fewer toys to choose from. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the world followed their lead?
5. How to Banish Perfection
One of the highlights of my week is the preschool story time at the library. Every week the children and I enjoy some stories and do a craft together. It’s such fun. The children paint, craft and embellish to their hearts content. Most of these creations are definitely unique and often messy or lopsided, but they are taken home with pride. They are often designated as a gift for a parent or grandparent. It never occurs to the young artists that what they have made is not good enough to give away. It is a good reminder to me that my life doesn’t have to be picture perfect. If I have done something with love then it is good enough.
As you connect with your children this week I would encourage you to open your heart, mind, and eyes. Listen to them; watch them as they engage in play, learning, and fun. Allow their questions and observations about EVERYTHING to challenge you. After all we do not know all there is to know about life. Maybe it’s time for us to learn from our children and discover the wisdom they have to offer.
I know that this is not a complete list by any means. It is just the things I appreciate the most. I’d love to hear from you. What life lessons have you learned from the children in your life?