This blog post veers away from my usual actionable content for teachers but be assured it is actionable, just in a mindset shift kind of way. Enjoy!
There is a time in our life where we exist as we are, unburdened by bias, undimmed by prejudice, and unfettered by societal norms. It is the time when we are children. As we get older though, we need to make sure we can still tap into that part of us. We must remember that it is a guide, a reminder of how to think and create the impossible with the unbridled imagination of once was a regular part of our day. When we tap into our childlike perspective we tap into the enormous amount of creativity that lay dormant in us.
As children our mode of discovery was mostly observing, wondering and playing. When biases don’t cloud our vision, we see things not just as they appear, but for their endless possibilities. The unassuming eyes of our younger selves did not search for underlying motives or hidden messages; they took in the world with face value, embracing the beauty in its raw form. The world was a canvas, and every moment a potential masterpiece. As adults, recognizing and understanding these characteristics is pivotal.
I love being around children, because their curiosity is contagious often leaving us adults pausing in reflection too! We all have heard children ask “Why is the sky blue?” As adults we often look first for scientific explanations, discussing the scattering of sunlight by the atmosphere. But if you keep the child in discussion you might hear simply that the sky is blue because it is Earth’s favorite color! Such simplicity not only warms the heart but also prompts us to think differently, to view the world less rigidly.
The following is a quote I saw on facebook that was the catalyst for this blog post about embracing our childlike thinking. I read it and I was like – BUT YES, YES IT IS!! Before you read the quote, I want you to think of what drawing is, because this little girl nailed it on its head! The quote goes as follows:
As an adult answering this question we might consider the techniques, the tools, the medium, the style—sometimes even before the actual act of drawing begins. While there’s value in expertise, this contrast is a poignant reminder. The child sees the essence, the joy, the core of the act, whereas adults sometimes get entangled in the periphery, missing out on the central delight.
Such examples abound, from a child’s solution to an intricate problem being surprisingly straightforward, to their unique interpretations of art, music, and even relationships. Their insights, free from the biases and burdens of adulthood, not only challenge our adult perspectives but often expand them, pushing us to think outside our self-imposed boxes.
Growing up is often synonymous with learning, maturing, and developing a deeper understanding of the world around us. Yet, paradoxically, as we gain more knowledge and experience, many of us inadvertently leave behind that raw sense of wonder we once held as children. When I suggest capturing that child-like state of wonder, I am suggesting that we find a space to be mindful for sometime and remember the times when a cardboard box was not just packaging but a spaceship or a castle? That was the magic of unfiltered observation and innocent curiosity at work. Try to capture that magic!
Children have this uncanny knack for seeing connections where we adults see boundaries. It’s like they have this secret key to a world filled with infinite possibilities. A world where a spoon and a bowl become musical instruments, where a twig is a magic wand, and where an empty room is an expansive universe. Their minds are not bogged down by the “that’s not possible” or the “it’s always been done this way.” They ask “why not?” and in doing so, they often stumble upon solutions and ideas that we adults would never even consider.
Now, imagine if we, as adults, could harness even a fraction of that boundless creativity and imagination. Think of the innovations, the art, the solutions to challenges big and small. Our adult knowledge combined with a child’s perspective is a powerful mix. It’s not about being naive or ignoring the complexities of the world. It’s about viewing those complexities through a lens of wonder and possibility.
When we allow ourselves to explore without the constraints of “shoulds” and “musts,” we tap into a wellspring of creativity that’s both liberating and empowering. This isn’t just about artistic or professional creativity; it’s about the creativity we use to navigate our lives, solve problems, and form connections. Plus when we approach the world with the curiosity of our younger selves, we find pockets of joy in the most unexpected places. This not only enhances our capacity for happiness but also fosters a more positive and resilient mental well-being. There’s a profound solace in experiencing the world without judgments, soaking in the simple pleasures, and finding awe in the everyday.
We owe it to ourselves to occasionally put aside our “adulting hats”, even if just for a moment, and rediscover the world with the eyes of our younger selves. By doing so, we might just reignite the spark of creativity that has been lying dormant, waiting for the right moment to shine. And trust me, there’s no time like the present to let it shine.
Steps to Rediscover and Foster Wonder
So, how do we break free from the shackles of routine and reignite our sense of wonder?
Take a moment to just look around. Whether it’s watching the dance of leaves in the wind or observing people in a cafe, immersing ourselves in our environment can be profoundly enlightening.
Remember the hobbies or activities that once ignited joy? Whether it’s painting, dancing, or even jumping in puddles after a rainstorm, engage in them. Play is not just for children; it’s the language of creativity and wonder.
Practices like meditation encourage us to be present, to experience each moment fully. This not only grounds us but also amplifies our appreciation for the little things.
Routine might be comforting, but it’s often the antithesis of wonder. By actively seeking out new experiences, be it traveling, taking up a new hobby, or just changing our daily route, we jolt ourselves out of complacency and into a realm of discovery.
The journey begins inwards. Take time to reflect on your beliefs, biases, and preconceived notions. Challenge them. By doing so, you not only make space for new ideas but also reconnect with the simplicity of seeing things as they are, much like a child would.
Remember when every day was a series of questions? “Why is the sky blue?” “How do birds fly?” As adults, we often quench this thirst for knowledge. Reignite it. Dive deep into questions, both big and small. Not for the sake of finding answers, but to revel in the wonder of exploration.
Surrounding ourselves with diverse perspectives is like opening multiple windows to the world. And among these perspectives, the voice of children holds a special place. Their insights, untainted by years of societal conditioning, offer a fresh, often enlightening viewpoint. Engage with them, listen to them, and see the world through their eyes.
Life is made of moments that shape us. We can either just watch or actively live our story. Deep down, we all want to see the world with curiosity and wonder, and use our imagination in our life.
The anecdotes shared and the steps outlined are not just routes to enhance creativity or improve well-being; they are a clarion call to each one of us. A call to not just live, but to experience life in all its vibrancy and vitality. To not get so entangled in the intricate dance of adulthood that we forget the simple joys of a child’s twirl.
We’ve all been that child once – uninhibited, curious, and brimming with wonder. And while time’s passage is inexorable, reclaiming the magic of our younger days is within our grasp. It’s a conscious choice to view the world with a mix of a child’s innocence and an adult’s wisdom. A choice that can infuse our daily lives with joy, creativity, and a renewed appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us.
So the next time you find yourself lost in the monotony of life or feel the weight of the world bearing down, take a moment. Pause. Breathe. And channel that child within. For in their simple yet profound perspective lies the key to a life filled with wonder, awe, and boundless possibility.
Embrace it, celebrate it, and most importantly, let that childlike wonder illuminate your path, guiding you to treasures untold and moments unparalleled. Because, in the end, life’s beauty isn’t just in the grand events, but in the simple, unfiltered moments that take our breath away.