“When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
The above quote, often attributed to Beatles frontman John Lennon, sums up the difference between how children and adults often view the world. Here are some additional lessons we can learn from kids, about life and love…
Never stop learning.
We’ve all heard of it. Some of us have even experienced it firsthand. There’s the terrible twos, the thrashing threes, and interwoven throughout, there are the “wondrous whys”. / “Okay sweetie, put your jacket on.” / “Why?” / “Because it’s cold outside, love.” / “Why?”/ “Because the Earth’s rays are hitting the Earth at a shallower angle.” / “Why?”/ And, before you know it, you’re studying atmospheric pressure and the global ocean conveyor belt to satisfy the intellectual zest of a four-year-old. There is a lesson to be learned from this insatiable thirst for knowledge and understanding: Keep your sense of wonder. Never stop asking why. Never stop learning.
Kids love purely and unconditionally. They have no problem expressing their love for themselves or for others, and they always make time for those they love. Tell someone you care about today, authentically, how much they mean to you.
Kids approach new challenges fearlessly. Take a page from a kid’s book: Step outside your comfort zone and try something new today. New Ethiopian restaurant in town? Give it a try! Total body boot camp class at the gym? Bring it on. Fried tarantula? Okay, let’s not get carried away.
It’s okay to ask for help.
Kids dive right into a challenge, giving it all they’ve got, stepping outside their comfort zone. And, when all they’ve got isn’t good enough, they do something even more admirable: They ask for help. Somewhere in adolescence or adulthood, we often lose the self-awareness and humility needed to know when we need help and to ask accordingly. Interestingly enough, a Harvard Business School-led study (2015) suggests that those who ask for advice are viewed as more, not less, competent than those who do not.1 The authors report, “When you ask someone for advice, you validate his or her intelligence, experience, and expertise; and, because you’ve made a person feel good, he or she feels good about you.” This is also sometimes referred to as the Benjamin Franklin effect. Asking for help, then, benefits both the individual asking and the one being asked. It’s a win-win!
There is an entire subset of videos online of babies and kids laughing hysterically at seemingly innocuous things– like someone ripping a piece of paper or books dropping to the floor. (You’re welcome.) Adulthood, on the other hand, has somehow become synonymous with seriousness. We can learn a lot from kids about how to relax a little and learn to enjoy the little things in life. Our health may depend on it: Laughter has been linked to a plethora of positive benefits, from decreased stress cells to increased “feel-good” hormones and infection-fighting antibodies. Here is a little something to get you started…
Why did the person keep getting hit by a bike?
They were stuck in a vicious cycle.
1. Brooks, A.W., F. Gino, and M.E. Schweitzer. “Smart People Ask for (My) Advice: Seeking Advice Boosts Perceptions of Competence.” Management Science 61, no. 6 (June 2015): 1421–1435.