Although through force of circumstance I am very much a peripheral figure in their lives I’m fascinated by my two grandchildren, Charlie who is 3½ and Jack who is 1½. They love to play and have fun and Charlie is a proper boy, boisterous and fearless, Jack has yet to find his feet, but is certainly beginning to find his voice.
Walking with Charlie, I am struck that, whilst I am always conscious of the dangers that might befall him, for him it’s an endless parade of fascinating sights and sounds, friendly strangers, police cars, tractors and buses. And play, play is a series of inventive scenarios, often without any physical props, just the product of his vivid imagination which he expects you to wholeheartedly embrace. To him the world is fun!
At some point we become jaded and world weary and lose our sense of childish fun. Admittedly, as adults, childish behaviour is not going to be appropriate in most situations, but there are some useful lessons we can learn from observing children at play.
1. Live life in the here and now.
Probably the most important lesson we can learn from children is to enjoy the here and now. They are really good at it and are rarely thinking about anything but, so absorbed they are with all that’s happening now. How many of us can claim the same? Enjoy the present. The past is gone and can’t be changed, the future, you can’t predict it and it hasn’t happened yet.
2. Free your creative side
Children love to paint, make cupcakes, make play dough, build Lego. Creativity is not only fulfilling, it’s fun!
3. Lift your head
Most adults go through the day consumed by their own thoughts, rarely noticing or appreciating their surroundings in much detail. If you’ve ever observed a child examine a leaf, an insect, a frog you can see that their fascination with the world around them is endless. Lift your head and enjoy the world around you.
4. Take risks
Children have no barriers when they’re growing up, very little fear of failure, they will explore new things, take risks and are rarely self conscious. What’s stopping you learning something new, taking a few risks too?
5. Be Silly!
Children are the past masters of silly! A simple word can be repeated time and time again to fits of giggles, trucks smashed endlessly together – just for fun. Let your silly side out now and then, be unpredictable once in a while, break a few ‘rules’!