I feel there is a lot to be learned from children. As we grow up, we tend to get bogged down by life and lose a lot of those characteristics which one made us joyful and healthy.
A lot of us succumb to the pressures of the world around us and become jaded, cynical and downright angry.
I first noticed this in one of my young cousins. As he played, he was displaying a lot of the traits that I felt I no longer had. That got me to identifying what those traits were in an attempt to develop ways to get them back.
You might call it naivité, but I think there’s something for us to learn from that child-like innocence.
What follows are my observations about this topic over the last few years.
Focus & Concentration
If you watch a child at play, they tend to be very good at focusing on one task – where an adult may become frustrated.
They’re like little scientists experimenting with different outcomes. Of course, that young age, they tend to have a lot of freedom with their time. They don’t have to go to work, run errands or anything like that.
When is the last time you were focused on anything so intensely? I know it’s been a long time for me. The world we live in these days contains a lot of distractions to throw us off, but we must be vigilant.
One of my saving graces has been the martial arts. It has taught me focus, concentration, and patience. Although I have some challenges in these areas, I know that I can overcome them if I focus on what I should be doing.
TIP #1: Simplify. Slowly and methodically remove from your life the things that are unimportant and drawing your attention from what you are meant to be doing.
Creativity & Curiosity
In line with the previous point, children are keen to experiment. In so doing, they are willing to be wrong. Ideas are quickly considered and acted upon.
Children possess a certain curiosity about the world around them. Mostly because they simply haven’t experienced the world.
Conversely, we adults can be cynical and jaded. Depending on our age, we’ve learned what the world is like. We have confidence that our assumptions about the world we haven’t seen are right and may no longer feel the need to explore.
I find it a challenge sometimes to make decisions. Usually, I have an idea then I come up with a plethora of reasons why it won’t work. And I know I’m not alone.
We might say, people will look at me funny if I do that. Or maybe they’ll think I’m silly or even crazy.
As far as curiosity goes, I know I am highly tempted to opt for the comfort of something I know instead of taking on a new adventure/challenge.
While growing up, experience and interactions with others have “taught” us what we can and can’t do. This has its merits, of course. If we acted on every crazy idea we have, that might be dangerous. Instead, our creativity needs to be controlled or tempered, I feel.
TIP #2: Make some time each week (or day if you can manage it) for focused brainstorming/ideation. It doesn’t have to be anything serious. What’s more important is that it’s unfiltered. Ignore the part of your brain (likely the left side) for a bit.
TIP#3: Try something new. Learn a new skill. Develop a talent. Is there something you always wanted to do? Make time for it.
Joy & Unconditional Love
Children are innately joyful and loving. They are seemingly in-tune into what is important. Although they can exhibit selfish behaviour, they are more likely to be inclusive and concerned with the well-being of others.
Empathy is a common trait. A generosity of spirit is the general mode of operation among children.
A lot of us older folk seem to be lost in this regard. Perhaps the pressures of our environment broke us or caused us to give up on our innate abilities. In any case, we are all salvageable. Dum spiro spero – While I breathe, I hope.
TIP #4: Vow to help someone else every day. It can be money or something they need. You can also give of your time. It could be in the form of volunteering your skills, advice or just listening to someone’s problems and maybe providing advice.
Mobility & Movement
Using all the attributes above, children generally play with reckless abandon. Sometimes, to the dismay of their parents.
During this time, they typically get into positions and utilize movement patterns with ease.
Two common movement patterns you may see:
- Getting in and out of a deep squat
- Hanging by the arms (one or both)
There are several other ways they might move during a session of play. The key takeaway is that these are in short bursts. Consider them as sort of mini-experiments with movement. They don’t seem to consider what they can or can’t do. They just go for it.
TIP #5: Start. We’re all in different stages of mobility. They key is to consistently experiment. Don’t be intimidated by complex patterns. Instead, break them down. Choose to master one piece at a time. Watch this video for ideas!
In no way, do I have all these things sorted out for myself. I do feel, however, that all of us adults could use a little help in the emotional health department. There are a lot of stresses we have to deal with on a daily basis. I think we’d be better off if we were well equipped to handle them.
Thanks for reading as always! If you found this post helpful, please share it so that it might help others.