CHILDREN SEE MAGIC BECAUSE THEY LOOK FOR IT. -CHRISTOPHER MOORE
After a long week, I sometimes find myself admiring my children’s innocence, playfulness, and endless tanks full of energy. Childhood is full of freedom and magic. Here are just a few lessons from my children that have helped me capture the magic of childhood:
Play with Boxes
Remember those long summer days that were filled with endless hours of playing with friends. How can we capture those moments of play as an adult? Dr. Stuart Brown suggests that children learn a variety of life skills such as communication, resilience, and empathy.
My son and daughter love when we get a delivery because of all the boxes. They wait patiently, as I tear open each box and empty the contents. Then the fun begins. I have seen a set of boxes turn into houses, cars, airplanes, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. The coolest thing about kids playing with boxes is that their imagination is fully activated and their play can go on for hours.
Just like kids, adults need their imagination activated. So maybe playing with boxes isn’t your thing. That’s okay. I don’t play with boxes, but do play with fabric, ribbon, and paper. I love to play. Not only does it keep my mind going, it’s also calming. Each of us will have a different form of play. As adults, we all need to continue working on those life skills of communication, resilience, and empathy. Maybe if adults played more, the world would be a little better.
As parents and teachers, we are constantly encouraging kids to “try it out.” It’s kind of funny how as adults, we have no problem encouraging kids to do this, but we have a hard time “trying things out” as adults. Maybe as adults, we are filled with the doubt from not being accepted, not being good enough, or just the fear of failing. On the flip side, that doubt differs when a child has a team of people encouraging them.
I think about the day when my son wanted to jump off the diving board for the first time. For days he planned out his first attempt. He stood on the edge of the board and bounced up and down to test the movement. He jumped off the side of the pool to confirm his ability to swim in the deep water. He asked his cousins to demonstrate and wanted their insight. Finally, he took the leap and jumped off the diving board. I remember the look on his face. He was proud and relieved that it wasn’t as scary as he thought. After that, he walked a little taller that day.
There is nothing more satisfying than trying something out to find that we actually liked it and maybe even are good at it. As adults, we all deserve a moment to be proud and to walk a little taller.
Make A New Friend
Friends open our world to new perspectives. It is probably one of the most important life lessons. Young kids just want to play and have fun, so they make friends. Kids don’t make the process complex. They go up to each other, exchange words or communicative sounds, and go off to play. Boom! A new friend.
One instance that stands out was the time my family was visiting the 9/11 Memorial in NYC. My daughter had just turned one. The family had gone into the museum’s theater to view a documentary and I stayed outside with my little one. As I was feeding her crackers, I noticed her point to another little one across the room. My daughter took off running in the direction of this little girl. The girls stood staring at each other, my daughter babbled something and the other responded in German, and they started playing. Boom! A new friend. Not complex. No judgment. A new perspective and a new friend.
As an adult, I find joy when I make new friends. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s magical. New friends can fill our lives with joy, support, and a much-needed perspective.
When life gets too busy or too complicated, maybe we just need to stop and reflect on the magic of childhood that we once all embraced by returning to play, trying things out, and making new friends.