As children we look to adults to teach us what we need to know in the world. And why wouldn’t we – adults have life experience so they can show us how to succeed without having to repeat painful lessons. At least that’s the theory behind it. We all know it doesn’t always play out quite so neatly. But regardless, the point is, it is a one-way street. A one-directional exchange. Children learn from adults. Yet, as an adult, if you spend any amount of time with children you will find them to be an incredible source of inspiration unto themselves.
Case and point: I often spend time with my best friend’s ten-year old daughter – sometimes it is as little as 10-15 minutes while other times it can be a few hours. And each and every time I am in awe of what I take away even from just watching and listening…here’s just a few areas I have found inspiration through her:
- Seemingly endless curiosity: As adults we grow tired of the continual rounds of “why?” and “how come?” that children tend to throw at us because we don’t have time for those questions – there is always so many more important things to do. Yet for a child, understanding the world around them is all there is, hence the endless “why?” and “how come?” questions. They seek to know and understand – and in a lack of information or answers, their creativity (another example I mention below) takes over in an attempt to use what they do know about their world to explain this new thing they don’t yet understand. How inspiring it is to see such an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and understanding, for curiosity about the world around them. Think how we could benefit from having some of that curiosity in our own lives each day as adults.
- No worries about what others think: With technology and social media being such a staple part of their norm, young children have no problem making videos of themselves and posting on Musically, You Tube, etc. They don’t worry about what others will think about their hair or their clothes. They aren’t concerned about whether they stumbled over their words or not. They just have fun making whatever video they have decided to make. Meanwhile the thought of using FB live or Periscope is paralyzing to me as I find myself worrying about how it would sound, what I will look like, saying “um” too many times, what people would think of the content, if I even have anything worthwhile to share in the first place…I could go on, but you get the idea. So many of us could benefit from learning how to relax and just have fun with stuff like this from our young friends. Think of all the things we don’t do as adults out of fear of what others will think – clearly this an area to find inspiration from young children.
- Boundless creativity: Have you ever had a child tell you a story they have made up? Did you marvel at where they came up with half of the stuff in the story? It seems as if their creativity has no limits. They are not bound by what is real, what they can touch or see, or feel. Literally, if they can think of it then it can exist in their young minds. Just sit back and watch young children in free play sometime and you will be amazed at the incredible amount of creativity you see. It is one of the most inspiring things I have ever witnessed. For anyone who has ever struggled to be or feel creative, just sit in the presence of children for even a short period of time and I promise you, you will feel inspired and creative.
The exchange between adults and children shouldn’t be so one directional. We can learn so much from children. Children just do what they do. There are none of the external worries or cares that we have picked up as adults. (How we as a society strip our young children of these beautiful attributes so that they grow up to be overly serious, stressed out adults who worry entirely too much about things is a subject for another day perhaps.) Children serve as such wonderful examples of what it can look like to be present in the moment. We really should pay a bit more attention to the inspiration we can garner from the young ones in our lives.
“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is about.”- http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com