One of the greatest privileges I have in my life is being granted the chance to work with children full-time. For 12 years, I was the children pastor of a megachurch in Singapore. I worked with a dynamic volunteer team who gave their best to build small groups and design relevant kids programs.
In the process working with our little clients, I have learned so much from them. Something I will never be able to repay in my lifetime.
The lessons are invaluable and here are some gems I wish to share with you. These childlike actions are still relevant to us as adults.
In a party, I recall when us adults were enjoying our food and fellowship, while the kids were playing. They were playing hide and seek. As the early lunch time party progressed, the kids got very tired and their game was halted because they lost a few players.
One of them was the seeker himself.
You see, at the very last few rounds, the seeker was so tired from seeking decided to lie down to rest. In the end, he never got up to resume seeking. He felt asleep and that keeping the rest hiding longer than necessary. And at the end of the day, many of them fell asleep in their respective hiding place too.
As adults we can learn to find a place to hide too. Not as a game but as a strategy to retreat when tired and stressed. And its good to find a place that you can let your hair down and rest (and why not, fall asleep?).
In our fast contemporary world, its a privilege to find a place of refuge. And when we are able to, we should always go there for a breather. While we are there, its okay to fall asleep there too. That hearty rest could just be what we need to start again.
Kids forget your offences faster.
So many volunteers I have worked with tells how their kids come back the week after the most severe dispute with them as if nothing has happened.
They often just walk into the room joyful and happy playing with their friends. An adult in the same situation will walk in sheepishly, looking at the corner of their eyes hoping not to see you in the same room.
The best strategy to forget offence faster is to have dreams that you are after. Kids are good to know what they want and go straight to trying to get it. There’s no fluff or mismatched intention when it comes to knowing what they want. They haven’t developed an ‘adult’ filter that tells them certain stuff are hard or not permitted to have as dreams.
As a result of the clarity of their dreams, they forget offences faster. They move on to play and its something we can surely learn to do more.
Yes, speaking of fun and play, kids do have more of them. Even when they are working or doing homework, they make games out of their work.
I remember I once took advantage of this trait of theirs. I made cleaning up a room a game. So I got the group of kids I had in my house do work as I needed them to. I know, I know, I’m bad but my point is ….
Kids just know how to have more fun and play.
They are not fixated by the outcome. They know in any game if its to be fun, they are winners and losers. They will risk losing, so that they can just have the chance to play. In their lack of reservation, they could let their hairs down and have some fun.
Can we have more fun and play even when we work?
Kids cry when they don’t get what they want.
I recall several times I have given out prizes for some competition or games that I conduct with kids. Sometimes the gift will be so attractive that some of them cry when they were not chosen to be the recipient.
The last time, I gave out the latest toy in town, the boy who didn’t get the prize cried and exclaimed “Minions are my favourite… Waahhh” as he look at that toy being claimed by another boy who won the prize.
Kids are passionate about what they do and want they want. They truly cry out louder in life.
But they laugh too. It’s one of the greatest joy in my work to make kids laugh. With puppets and jokes and just acting silly, we aim to make them laugh. When kids laugh, its a sure sign of connection with them. We make them laugh because its easy and they will laugh louder than anyone else in the room. We make them laugh also because their laughter is golden.
As adults we should laugh and cry out louder. It helps us release our stress better as they are natural responses to human joy and sorrow. When we allow ourselves to be more human, we allow ourselves to cry and laugh out louder. It’s always a good thing.
In conclusion, here are the 4 things we can learn from children that is relevant for us as adults. It really blesses me to apply these principles in my life. Because there are good things to reap as reward of being more childlike creative.
Hope it does the same thing for you.