We should learn a thing or two from children so we can model a thing or two for them.

The young don’t prioritize. They follow their hearts, their whim, and their passion. The young chase what is fun, what is interesting without thought of what they have to do or what they might be missing. They are focused on what is in front of them or just beyond their reach and they are certain that in chasing it they will have great adventure. Is it any wonder that, physical conditions aside, we yearn to be young? It’s not that the young don’t consider their options, they do.

Give a child a choice between a cookie and a piece of candy and you will see them weighing the rewards. They ponder which they want more, the complete, sugary sweetness of the candy or the richer, more substantial cookie. They’ll probably choose quickly but don’t be surprised if reach for not one but both. Because that’s what kids do, they operate outside of what we say are accepted norms. They have a penchant NOT to follow the directions, even those directions given just seconds ago; to color outside of the lines especially when the stakes are high like cookies and candy. They haven’t yet learned, at least not all the way, to follow the rules. But soon, they will.

They will be indoctrinated into the world of things one can do and things one cannot do. They will be instructed as to the acceptable and the unacceptable practices. They will find out what it is to ponder the intrinsic and extrinsic benefits of all things, not just cookies or candy. Children discover the regret of a choice not taken. They realize that because they chose this, they missed out on that. They know the reality of a bad choice and they begin to pass on what is before them in favor of what may come down the road later. Our children learn to deny themselves a happiness today in hopes of a greater happiness tomorrow. They begin to grow up, slowly, steadily and inevitably. But maybe they don’t have to “grow up” at least not so much.

What would happen if we modeled our former selves, our former psyches to our children? What could life be like for them if we showed them how to chase a dream or a vision or whimsy? How would they be changed through observing us relish what we had, here and now, and enjoying it all to the fullest without looking over our shoulder or to the left or right? Who could they become and how happy might they be if they knew how things could be wanting what they had rather than having what they thought they wanted? Who knows? They might become the people we were meant to be once upon a time. They might turn out to be someone who has it all. Cookies and candy.

Our choices, and being happy with them, are sometimes a struggle. It’s my wish that as an adult you’re content with yours. If you have a friend that is wrestling with these all-too-prevalent parts of our lives I hope you’ll share this with them. Who knows, it might bring a bit of childlike peace for them.

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