Editor’s Note: This article is written by the brilliant, amazing, and true Marina Tsipenyuk.
It seems that we are always searching for what is sensible, logical, and politically correct. The older we become, the more such formalities encompass our thoughts and, surely, become us—our identities and traits are unshakable, arguably as they were, have been, and always will be.
Perhaps that is why children are often advised by their elder counterparts to discontinue their illogical, irrelevant pursuits through the utmost peeks of their imagination, in favor of what we believe is “realistic”. Children are silenced, their questions ignored, and their brilliance shunned, for truly they are living in the real world and they are yet unaware of this.
My parents had come home to me and told me about their friends’ undisciplined children. “They kept asking all of these unwarranted questions! The parents didn’t even stop them!”, and yet they did not fail to mention how smart they thought the children were, how observant, how expressive. Though they were not disciplined in the conventional sense, their unmitigated ability to speak and to ask had manifested the most profound capabilities in the realm of self expression. For when children are hushed, they limit their questions to necessities. They reject abstractions to please us, but what they are completely unaware of is that so many of us are hitting the snooze button every morning, hoping to avoid the kind of pathetic reality that we are forcing on them!
But this approach is condemnation. What is it with us and our desire to complicate the world? Why is it that fun is equivalent to unproductive and productive consists of what is un-fun?
And haven’t we all been there? Haven’t we felt so alive drawing, singing, dancing, acting, and listening to some half witted grownup telling us that we must stick to those ways of the world that they think they know so well?
So why are children so happy and grownups so miserable? Surely they do not have to pay the bills, watch what they eat, and be independent, but when was the last time YOU looked out the window and just found the deepest pleasure in seeing a squirrel, fluffy and nimble, or knelt down to pick a flower in the springtime. When we find ourselves so concerned with everything else, we forget that once these were the phenomena of our waking days. Why should we be the arbiters of their desensitization when so much what they employ can help us so greatly?
“Grown-ups can never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to have to explain things to them always and forever” ~ Antoine de Saint Exupéry (The Little Prince)
So what is it that we can learn from children? To name a few things:
1. They are happy to get up in the morning
I have a question for you. When was the last time you stayed up and watched the sun rise? Last summer I remember sitting with my two best friends, watching the sun rise, and feeling so alive. It is a brand new day and a brand new you. Who knows what the day may bring? Don’t miss out on all of the amazing opportunities before you, and take them with gratitude.
2. They do not want to go to sleep at night
Just like the morning, the night has its wonderful mysteries and romantic stories. Whether you spend some time with your family, take a bubble bath, or make love to your spouse, do not go straight to sleep all the time.
3. They play games!
Yes, they love to pretend, and somehow, it always works for them. They live a new life every day, and that life is what they choose to make of it. We can think of life as anything, there is no ultimate truth. When was the last time you played hide and seek without getting frustrated? I did today with my phone! Make little mishaps into games!
4. They know that they don’t know everything…they always ask questions
Stop being Mr. Knowitall. You don’t.
5. They take pleasure in the little things.
I think that at one point we stop thinking of getting treats as exciting ventures. Why? Probably because everything, including ice cream is so accessible. Make it a point to limit such commodities in order to really feel their value. Don’t eat your favorite unhealthy food for a week and then go get it. It will be so great!
6. They appreciate the big things that we seem to ignore.
The seasons, for instance. Could you imagine how amazing it is when a child sees snow for the first time? And the next? And children long for the glistening snow to make angels, the sparkling rain in which they play, the sunny days that they can spend outside in the park. Don’t ignore the child within, and stare in amazement the next time you encounter one of nature’s pleasures.
And remember, adults are just big children.
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