We try to stifle our childlike traits as we age. Thinking that they will make us seem immature. When really some of those childlike traits are quite important to keep as adults.
I remember sitting on the stairs with my brother making plans for when we were adults. We were going to get a sweet apartment where we could watch cartoons and eat sugary cereal on Saturdays. I was going to own my own clothing line and make thousands of dollars (Because a thousand dollars was a lot of money to my kid self).
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We thought everything was going to be simple and couldn’t wait to leave our childhood ways behind us. It seems, we grow up trying so hard to squash anything resembling childlike behavior in an effort to be labeled as an adult faster. We can’t stand to be thought of as immature. However, there are some very important childlike traits we should cling to:
1. Being Curious
If you’ve ever hung out with a three year old, you know their favorite question is why (Either that or it’s the only word they know). Little kids want to understand the why to everything. They love to learn and find even small bits of information fascinating. And we should too!
2. Wanting to Explore
When I was growing up, my brother and I loved playing treasure hunters. We would create our own map and trying to find a treasure that we’d buried. Or we’d go on long walks through our 12 acre land in search of finding something new. We even started digging a hole in our backyard trying to reach China (My mother was not happy).
Even though I am wiser now (You cannot, in fact, dig a hole through the center of the earth to reach China), I still love to explore. I travel to new places at least once a year. Sometimes that’s a big trip overseas and sometimes it’s a little road trip to a neighboring state. I almost always stay at an Airbnb, too, which let’s me meet people from all over. Both places help me explore new cultures, see different ways of life, and learn more about the planet we live on. We aren’t here for very long and we can’t take anything with us, so I encourage everyone to invest in travel. The one thing that will enrich your life.
3. Having an imagination
I’ve always been a creative person. Whether that meant coming up with stories for my Barbies to play out, writing long tales in grade school, or drawing new specs for a treehouse we were going to build in our backyard. Maybe I had to have more imagination because I grew up in the country without cable, but I believe it helps build a fun and lighthearted world.
People create amazing new games, gadgets, stories, movies, etc all while using their imagination. Without that inventive spirit, we would be without a lot of the things we love in life (Like watching Neil Patrick Harris in Series of Unfortunate Events).
Even if you don’t think you’re a very creative person, you can still use your imagination for fun weekend activities or new things to eat for lunch. If you need some prompts to get started, try my solo date ideas or these couple date ideas.
4. Being Accepting of Others
If you’ve ever met a 2 or 3 year old, they don’t have fear to walk up strangers and say hi. Even if they meet someone whom an adult thinks negatively of, they don’t treat them any differently. Instead, they offer them their half-eaten piece of candy and give them a hug.
People aren’t born to discriminate against others or to hate people because of how they look or act. That is something we do as adults, and then teach to our children. Really, we should take a lesson from these children. Stop judging people for who we think they are. Meet those people and let them tell you who they actually are.
5. Having a Sense of Innocence
I remember being laughed at for still playing with Barbies in 6th grade instead of going to the skate park to stare at boys. In my friends’ eyes, even through high school, I was too innocent at times because I was the last one to kiss a boy, let alone too ‘prude’ to go further.
But in the society we live in today, kids are losing their innocence sooner. We watch so many negative, sad stories on the news that we have become numb to them. Not even a new terrorist attack shocks us anymore. So I encourage you to hold onto a little bit of innocence. Don’t forget the world, but don’t let it corrupt your way of thinking.
6. Giving Generously
I love learning about the class that raised pennies to adopt a family or to build a new playground for their school. Kids struggle with the concept of money (like I said, I thought a hundred dollars was a lot and a thousand meant I was rich). However, they don’t struggle with the idea of giving some of their money to help someone out.
I’m not saying that we should give away all of our money to help undeserving causes, I’m saying we shouldn’t be so concerned with what the world can do for us. Instead, we should consider more what we can do to benefit the world. I encourage you to donate the dollar at Target for their latest charity or to drop a couple in the red bucket for the Salvation Army. Because if more people did, the higher the collection would be. Even donating your time to support efforts like building homes and cooking meals is a great way to show your generosity.
7. Having Contentment in Life
Thinking back to my childhood, I was happy. I had my bike, my cats, and friends at school. I wasn’t worried about the future, I was just pleased to be living in the here and now. Not every day was a good day, but overall I was a content kid.
It isn’t until I became an adult that I really started to worry about my place in life. We worry about having enough for retirement and working our way quickly up the corporate ladder. Sometimes our worry is so intense, we get physically ill over it. Instead of worrying so much, we should try focusing on our blessings in life. We can read, voice our opinion, have a house, a mode of transportation, and the list goes on and on. Take the time to be grateful, and have a look at my tips to make gratitude a daily habit.
8. Expressing Love for Others
Children love to tell people about their feelings. They express their love through hugs and kisses. In school, we make cards and color pictures to share with our loved ones (And our parents try to fake smiles when they get their 12th one that week).
Somewhere around our first crush and love, we complicate things. We suppress our feelings or make people feel bad for being emotional. However, we should work on telling people we love them. Stop the games and the guesswork and just be open. Love isn’t complicated, people just make it that way.
9. Getting Up After A Fall
If you watch a 2 year old run, they run super fast, stumble over their feet, and land flat on their face. My favorite part, though, is after they fall, they look around to see if anyone saw and take off running again.
Not that we cry after a fall now, but we feel embarrassed or don’t take the risk because we fear falling. This fear can hold us back from doing something that we’d really love. So I say let’s take the risk. If we fall, we’ll pull ourselves back up and keep running like nothing happened.
10. Being Believers
Magic. Mystical Creatures. Imaginary Friends. You name it, we believed it. Yes, we know as adults that wizards don’t exist, but that shouldn’t stop us from believing in miracles. Magic is in the nature around us. Life events we experience everyday. We don’t always need an explanation for everything. Sometimes we should just accept it as supernatural, and stop trying to reason everything logically.
There are many positives to being an adult, like setting our own bedtime and getting to eat ice cream for dinner. However, we don’t always have to grow up. Sometimes we should keep our simple childhood lives. Keep a sense of innocence and find friends wherever we go.
Make wishes on dandelion petals and shooting stars. Catch fireflies and frogs. Life can be complicated at times, but if we take the time to slow down, we can be grateful for everything that is life.