Thursday, January 21, 2016

Six things we can learn from children

My article first published on Philippine Online Chronicles on January 12, 2016.

“A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.” – Paulo Coelho

Children may not have a lot of experience and knowledge about the world but they have ideal qualities that many adults have long forgotten. Kids can help remind us of little things that matter most. They can give us a better perspective of life. Sometimes adults get lost in the sea of responsibilities that they forget how to open themselves to the sense of wonder and exploration. If you think about it, children are gurus of true happiness.

The journey to adulthood may have made us forget some of the essential things in life but it’s not too late. We can still relearn and embrace the life lessons from childhood.

1. That another day is a chance to start anew

Adults like to carry around negative emotions like excess baggage. When things go wrong, adults have a tendency to get mad, lay blame and hold grudges.

Children find it easy to let go and face the next day with optimism. When you are young, each day is like a fresh start. They open their doors to new opportunities and exciting experiences. Children leave past disappointments and failures behind and try again without doubt and hesitation.

Kids may fall several times but they always manage to get back up on their feet. When adults are bombarded with challenges, they tend to focus on the number of failures. The harder it is to recover, the more they lose sight of their goals.

Children can teach us to hang on and just keep on trying. Success is never far behind when you give your best. Patience and perseverance are keys to realizing your visions.

2. Pay attention to the little things in life

We are often so absorbed with our work and responsibilities at home that we neglect the beauty around us. Problems and worries of everyday life can easily weigh us down. Sometimes adults would rather bury themselves in their work so that they could temporarily forget their troubles.

Time can restrain us. Many adults are always in a hurry to beat deadlines and pay bills on a regular basis. We are not aware that life is passing us by.

Children can teach us to stop and smell the roses. Take time to slow down and appreciate the beauty that is all around us. Embracing the richness of life can help calm the mind and the senses. Finding peace can help us focus better. Sometimes a break is just what we need to boost our energy and concentration.

3. To face each day with courage and confidence

The young welcome each day with confidence and courage which allows them to enjoy life better than adults. Children are not afraid of taking risks. Their innocence makes them more open to new experiences.

As we grow older, fear becomes a result of what we have learned in the past. For instance, an adult knows better than to touch a burning candle because he knows he will get burned. In this context, fear prevents one from getting hurt.

Adults are often ruled by different fears. Many grown-ups are afraid of the unknown, being ridiculed, being rejected, being judged, and the uncertainty of what might happen next.

Balance is important in life. It’s alright to use past experiences to guide us in making better judgment but fear should not limit us from trying new things.
People can enjoy life more by setting aside fears of failure. How will we know unless we try?

4. Take time out and have fun

Play is not just for children. According to, play is a way to “fuel your imagination, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and emotional well-being.”

Many of us become slaves to our duties, commitments and responsibilities at the workplace and at home. We end up being so overwhelmed with tasks that we barely have time to relax and have fun. As we grow older, we dismiss the essence of play.

In this modern world, adults’ idea of fun is often watching movie marathons at home, engaging in online games, and browsing social media sites. Many of us have forgotten about energetic and carefree play that gives us renewed vigor.

Find time away from your modern, serious and hectic lives to have pure fun. It can be as simple as riding your bike with your spouse, friend or child. How about blowing bubbles in the air or running around the lawn? Get a chalk and draw on the pavement. Better yet, use it to draw a good old “piko” (hopscotch) pattern on the ground and play with the whole family. Fly a kite, catch a Frisbee, play fetch with your dog, chase butterflies, and so on.

Keep in mind that play can relieve stress, stimulate the mind, inspire creativity, and improve relationships.

5. Learn to give without expecting anything in return

Most adults are open to helping, giving or sharing with others but they often expect something in return. In the journey of life, many of us have learned that a favor merits a return favor; perhaps not immediately but later on.

Children can show us how good it feels to give unconditionally. The young ones give without any hidden motives. Adults can re-discover how to give without expecting to get something out of it. The happiness of showing kindness and generosity to others can be its own reward.

Let kids remind us of how wonderful it is to extend a helping hand without strings attached. Meaningful contributions make both giving and receiving a heartwarming experience.

6. Open your heart to forgiveness

Children are the epitome of forgiving and forgetting. One minute kids can be fighting over a toy and the next minute, they are giving each other a tight hug.

Adults find it harder to forgive. Pride often gets in the way of reconciliation. When adults get hurt, they often become resentful. They carry a grudge that amplifies the pain.

Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. When we forgive someone, we give that person another chance. The young can teach us that forgiveness can free us of further pain.

Photo c/o Pixabay. Public domain.

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