3 Lessons We Can All Learn From Kids
Updated: Jul 25, 2022
To this point, much of my early adult life has been spent in positions of teacher and/or coach. As a result, I’ve had the privilege to work with kids of various ages, in varying settings.
Now, you may say to yourself… the privilege? And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that serving in these roles brought many challenges and frustrations; but ultimately, these opportunities have enriched my life in ways that I could have never foreseen.
I believe that kids are special. They provide so much value and can serve as a light in today’s adult world that feels increasingly dark.
When we listen, kids can remind us of all of the great things that we once knew, but have since forgotten.
What follows are the three most important lessons that I’ve learned, as a result of working with a more youthful generation. As you read, I encourage you to reflect upon your own childhood and to embrace the beauties of life that you always knew to be true.
Perspective #1: Just Have Fun
Think of the most fun that you’ve ever had.
What did it feel like? What were you thinking about? How did you act at this moment?
Chances are, you laughed, played, lost track of time, moved freely, thought creatively, and tapped into a version of yourself that you hadn’t seen in a while.
Kids live in this space; free of worry and anxiety. They embrace the more fun aspects of life and are always on the lookout for opportunities that will allow them to tap into these moments of joy.
As we mature, it’s as if we place limits on the fun that we can have. You are allocated a specific amount (which is never enough), and can only use it at established moments of each day (never when you truly need it most). The remainder of your time is to be spent attending to more important matters.
Let’s flip it…
Lead with fun! Build a life around joy, laughter, and play. Give yourself permission to join your fun side with your adult life. Chances are, you will find that work comes more easily, and people are more attracted to being around you.
Everyone wants to spend time with the type of person who can enhance their lives, and it just so happens that the ability to have fun is a pretty good marker of a life well-lived.
Get out there and have fun!
Perspective #2: See People For Who They Are; Not What They’re Not
Kids are observational; adults are judgemental.
As we grow up, an evolution takes place. What was once a quick noticing is now a full-length gossip session. We judge others because we want to validate ourselves.
Kids, however, give little thought to inadequacy. That’s not to say that they don’t pick up on things, but that they care much less about how your character influences their reputation.
They want to know all that you have to provide, not what you lack.
When you spend time with kids, you realize that they work so hard to get you to embrace who you are.
They want to see you express yourself, interact with others, and move freely. Little thought is given to your shortcomings or the mistakes that you’ve made.
What matters most is the expression of your true self and all of the goodness that you have to spread. And wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we all honored this part of others?
Perspective #3: Be Who You Are
Individuality is a gift. And before we can welcome the best from others, we have to be authentic with ourselves.
Kids do a great job of this. For many years, they act strictly out of instinct and intuition.
They do what feels right, and believe that they will be accepted by others for who they genuinely are.
As we mature, however, we come to realize that the approval of others is something to be earned.
Let’s all just agree, kids got this one right.
Our personality should never have to be approved by someone else as if it can be changed or altered. We are unique because of the novel experiences and upbringing that we encounter.
When we embrace the aspects of our being that makes us authentically us, we are better able to apply the above two lessons.
Through my time spent working with kids, these truths have revealed themselves, oftentimes, when I’ve needed them most.
Many of us are shortsighted in our understanding of how much can be learned from others.
Anyone that you meet, no matter their age, has experienced things that you haven’t. These experiences have served as opportunities for that person, allowing them to further expand on their individuality.
When we allow ourselves to accept the novelty that is provided by others, we open the door to a world of insights and perspectives that we could never acquire on our own.
So, whatever your next opportunity may be, don’t let it pass.
Listen intently and care deeply. There’s so much to be discovered.
In an effort to support today’s youth, I will be running this year’s New York City Marathon with Team For Kids (TFK).
This organization raises funds for America’s kids; supporting school-based programs, youth events, digital resources, and free running/fitness programs, country-wide!
I view this as my opportunity to give back to a generation that has provided so much value to my life. If you’d like to support this effort, visit the link below to donate!