SOUL FUEL COLUMNIST: Kim Forrester shares five things we can learn from youngsters.
Last month, I discussed the powerful lessons our animal companions can teach us. This month, I want to highlight the most profound teachers in our lives: our daughters and sons, nephews and nieces, students and neighbours… our children.
For children, rules and expectations of how things “should” be are secondary to their natural, inherent and intuitive understanding of what life is. Without the burden of intellectual data or the limitations of entrenched rules and traditions, children are still able to learn, grow, adapt and thrive. Most importantly, they appear do it with more glee and more joy than the average adult.
So, rather than look down upon our young ones as inexperienced and unknowing, what would happen if we turned the tables? What could we learn if we looked to our children as wise and joyous teachers? I believe we can learn that:
The world is full of wonder:
Most of us are able to appreciate a spectacular landscape or a pretty sunset, but look to the children to show you the wonder that exists in every day, all around. What do they show us? That an ant colony is an exquisite source of awe and entertainment and that there is a simple joy to be found in rolling down a grassy hill.
There is no rush:
We have come to revere excessive busy-ness and often wear it like a badge of honour. Children show us that play and relaxation are vital to a balanced life. They teach us, in a sometimes infuriating way, that we can choose to slow down and that the world does not end if we are five minutes late.
There is power in the word “no”:
Children learn about the power of “no” at around the age of two and they use it with alarming frequency. However, by the time we are adults most of us have forgotten how to stand in our power and place a high priority on our own needs. It is not just healthy to express our needs, it is imperative for our ongoing wellbeing. Our children teach us this every time they say no with unfettered, truthful conviction.
Sometimes, people are just idiots:
Listen to any childhood, playground tiff and you will hear a range of ill-informed opinions and poorly researched facts. Sadly, there is no defined age where this behaviour magically disappears. Sometimes people (even grown-ups) are just talking ill-informed gibberish, no matter how much they believe in it. We are all idiots sometimes – me, you, that person in the comments section – but this fact does not need to diminish our joy of life.
Life is not all about knowing stuff:
Children lack knowledge in all things scientific, political, geographical and mathematical yet, somehow, they manage to have a good time anyway. Our need to be right and righteous, informed and knowledgeable, is just a lame attempt to feel powerful and in control. Children show us that we don’t need to be right all the time. Sometimes it’s just about joy.