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I love to see children.
No matter what mood I’m in, I always feel better when I see them.
There’s a park (more like a big playground) near where I live, and I’ll watch kids playing as I walk by. I’ll see children playing, laughing, running, swinging on swings, going down slides, or jumping on little trampolines…playing by themselves or with each other or with their parents.
Watching a young child jump on a trampoline can bring such joy! I’ve even seen parents trying to coax their child onto the trampoline by happily doing it themselves!
I love watching children because they’re so happy and free. So light. They just are who they are. They play and they laugh and they run. They even run with “normal clothes” on! When I see this, I usually think about how sweaty they’ll get, how uncomfortable that would feel, how they’ll probably need a shower—but kids don’t care! I’ve even allowed myself to run in non-running clothes, at times, when I’ve felt the urge…inspired, I’m sure, by observing kids doing it.
Kids do and say whatever they want. They’re so un-self-conscious—which is so different from so many of us (myself included). It’s pretty much the opposite of how I’ve lived most of my life. I’ve spent too much time feeling too self-conscious and too worried about doing something “stupid” or something that could make me feel embarrassed.
But kids don’t think like this. They don’t worry about what others think or expect. They haven’t yet been conditioned by “societal rules.” They don’t know that there are things “you just don’t do.”
A couple of months ago, I was walking when a little boy stopped me. He stood maybe a foot or two from me. It was winter, and his father was standing somewhere behind me. The boy asked me my name, and I told him. Then I asked him his name. He was quiet for a few moments…then he got a mischievous little smile and threw a snowball at me.
I smiled instantly, and it made me smile so big for the rest of the day! It was so cute! So endearing! All I could think was that no adult would do this! Can you imagine if an adult threw a snowball at another adult? I can’t imagine it would go very well.
But here was this adorable child who just wanted to have a little fun. It just made my day…and week…and maybe even year! I still smile when I think about it.
Children are so carefree. They’re confident. They just are who they are. They like what they like, and they don’t apologize for it. They don’t worry about what others think. They don’t care about doing something stupid or embarrassing. They don’t “try to fit in.” They laugh and they play. They chase birds, they go to pet random dogs, and they throw snowballs at random strangers.
I had someone tell me somewhat recently that I write a lot about wanting to feel childlike—and I didn’t disagree. I do want to feel childlike—the joy, the freedom, the lightness. I want to soak it in and live all of my days with it. I want the innocence and the purity. The presence. The un-self-consciousness.
Too many of us spend so much time being “responsible” and “practical” and “adult,” obsessing and stressing about so many things—like rushing to work and doing work and cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping and figuring out logistics and paying bills and trying to fit things in and then being tired and…yes, it’s all a part of life, these are things we have to do, but life shouldn’t always be so serious, and we should also try to tap into the lightness, the joy inside of us.
I want the childlike wonder, the curiosity, the un-self-consciousness. I want to be in-flow, in tune with myself. I want to move with what feels good and right. I want to have fun and play—whatever that means to me. I want to move with that freedom.
I want to be alive and joyous and present.
I feel like there’s so much we can learn from children—about how to live; how to be fully present, engaged, and alive; how to do what we like, what we want, what feels good and fun to us; how to not worry so much about what others think or if we’re getting it right.
We can learn so much from children.
We just have to open our hearts and pay attention.