By Claire Austen
Remember the innocence of childhood? We didn’t worry about money, jobs, debt, or the economy. We didn’t have angry bosses, unrealistic deadlines, or short-tempered co-workers. Instead, all we had was boundless energy, the pure joy of a light heart and the open space of a clear mind.
But as we grew up, we slowly lost the innocence and naivety of childhood. The bounce in our step deflated, we didn’t smile as widely, and we no longer noticed the little things that once fascinated us.
Although I don’t have children of my own (yet), I often babysit for my little cousins. They’ve reminded me of all the wonderful things I’ve forgotten about childhood. Although the perfect incorruptibility of a child can never fully be revived within us, there’s still a lot to learn from these little pint-sized people:
1. Laugh More
The laughing never stops when I visit my cousins. They giggle, yelp, and squeal with joy – all over the simplest things.
A funny joke, a game of Go Fish, a hard push on the swing – all bring joy to their faces as limitless laughs bubble delightfully to the surface.
2. Love More
“I love you” is something I hear all the time from my little cousins. While standing in line at the grocery store, taking a walk outside, or watching a movie – any time is a good time for showing affection.
3. Take More Risks
When we are too young to know the consequences, we don’t understand the meaning of a risk. Even little things – like sliding face first down a Slip-N-Slide, riding a bike with your hands off the handlebars, or saying what you really think to your friend – can be a risk.
Take a leap of faith. Sure, you might scrap your chin, fall down, or upset someone by telling the truth. But life isn’t perfect – and some risks are worth taking.
4. Stay Curious
When it comes to my cousins, everything turns into a question. Sometimes the questions are masked as stalling, such as:
“Why do we have to go to bed now?”
“Why do I have to eat peas?”
But more often, the questions they ask are due to genuine interest in the world around them. Just the other day, my cousin asked me, “where does the wind come from?” And the truth was: I didn’t know the answer.
5. Be Forgiving
Aside from the hour-long grudge for not allowing ice cream before dinner, my little cousins always forgive and forget. Children understand there is more to life than staying angry.
After all – think of all the questions to ask, risks to take, people to love, and things to giggle about!