Lessons From a Three Year-old

Photo by: gordieryan via Flickr

Having a preschool aged child is fascinating. At three my son is his own little person – a miniature version of the adult he will become. It’s fun (Sometimes!) to watch his behavior and personality and wonder how these traits will transfer into adult behavior.

The thing about a three year old that is most fascinating of all to me is how tuned in they are to their own feelings and how willing they are to just go with the moment. For example: In the midst of a tantrum, I can’t help but step back and almost (almost) laugh. Though he may be completely unreasonable, and going off like an utter nut, a part of me wants to say: “good for you for letting it all out!” But I don’t. Because if you’ve ever seen a three year old throwing a tantrum you know it is not fun. Ever.

There are so many other times though that I admire a small child’s nature and find myself thinking that if we could all just hold onto some of those childhood traits into adulthood wouldn’t we be a little better off? So in the spirit of living balanced I’ve composed a short list of the traits we should all try and borrow from a three year old:

  1. Say no. Small kids don’t have qualms about telling you when they don’t want to do something, a trait that many of us grown-ups lack, sometimes to our own detriment.
  2. Own your accomplishments. Though by now we’ve all mastered putting on our own underpants, we should nevertheless acknowledge the pride we feel for our achievements. Pat yourself on the back and announce to someone: “I did it!”
  3. Let it out. Ok, I’m not saying we should all go around wailing and hitting the nearest moving object, but there is something to be said for letting yourself feel sad or angry and getting those feelings out.
  4. Move on. Small children don’t hold grudges. A wailing, hitting, tornado of a tantrum is forgotten as quickly as it started and is usually replaced by the usual smiles and “I love yous”
  5. Soak in your surroundings. Nothing is lost on a little one. A troop of ants on the sidewalk, a particularly beautiful flower, chiming bells in the distance. Small children aren’t too focused on their destinations to take notice of and appreciate everything that’s already around them.
  6. Ask questions. About everything. There will never not be something to learn as long as we have the desire to know about it.
  7. Make friends. Little children don’t judge. Everyone is a potential friend and treated as such.
Despite the fact that eventually we do all have to grow up, it doesn’t mean that we have to lose all of those positive childhood traits. Try and regress a little … just don’t go around eating things off the ground That would be gross.

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