Brazilian writer and singer Paulo Coelho once said: “A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be curious, and to fight tirelessly for something.” As a teacher, I have the privilege of seeing children learn and discover new things. There is nothing more rewarding than watching a student have a “lightbulb” moment when making connections. While I teach them lessons, in return, they do the same. My students teach me things I may not know or may have forgotten as an adult. In reality, children are some of the world’s best teachers for adults. As a person grows up and gets older, there can be a tendency to dismiss or overlook the simpler and positive things in life. However, these lessons are never far from a child’s heart and mind. Through listening to, and interacting with, a child, an adult can be quickly reminded of the messages. Let’s take a look at exactly what we can learn from children.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. As stated in the quote above, children are curious and try new things every day. They ask questions about things they don’t know or understand. This trait shows a desire to learn or discover more about life. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as an adult. Also, take risks. Children are known for doing things without thinking much about them. While adults do need to think of consequences, it is still okay to take risks.
- Have fun and laugh. Playtime is a key part of a child’s day. Children have fun, laugh, and enjoy their time through doing their favorite activities. Most of the time, kids have no cares in the world. Adults should follow this lead. Add a little humor and fun to your day and always make time to enjoy life. Remember, life shouldn’t be all work and no play.
- Get excited about things, no matter how big or small they may be. Remember when you were a child and got excited about ice cream, going to the park, or playing a fort? Stay that excited about things that come your way, such as a new job, friendship, or a trip to see a family member. Excitement can take you, your happiness, and energy a long way.
- Express yourself sincerely. Children sometimes say what they are thinking and don’t mind who hears it. As for adults, we can choose our words carefully. When the situation is appropriate, express yourself freely and speak what is on your mind, as a child would.
- Adapt to change. No one likes change, no matter how old they are. Children are subjected to many changes during their lives. New schools, new teams, new friends, and sometimes new homes and cities. It may take some time to adjust, but overall, everything will be okay. Kids take changes in stride and so should adults. Change can be a good thing and can be needed at times.
- Relax and let things go. Children rest when they are tired and don’t hold grudges. When things get rough, take a deep breath, get some rest, and then move on.
- Be creative. Growing up, I did many arts and crafts projects and put on many shows in my living room. Children get in touch with their creative side almost daily, and adults should too! Color in a coloring book, draw a picture, etc., whatever gets your creativity going. Plus, being artistic can be a great way to release stress.
- Be active. Recess and getting outside is a favorite part of many children’s days. Jumping, running, and doing cartwheels isn’t considered exercise or a chore by kids. It is something they just do.
- Be observant and notice the little things. Children see all the details. They notice a haircut, a change in the ingredients in their food, or how an animal moves. These simple, overlooked details show us the beauty of life. We need to stop and “smell the roses” each day by looking at the world around us. Take it all in and live in the moment.
There are many lessons life will teach a person; many we learn from other people, including children. An adult can glean much wisdom from children if they just take the time to observe and listen.