Photo courtesy of D Sharon Pruitt
My Mom was good at connecting with the 'child within' and she shared her gift generously with us kids. I remember the first time we went to a fast food restaurant. How many people can say that? My Dad was very formal and would never be caught dead in such a place.
One day it was lunch time, my Dad was at work. Instead of making the usual p,b & j sandwiches, my Mom said, "Let's go to Smack's!" This was ages ago, before McDonald's ruled the land. Smack's was a McDonald's precursor. Amped up on the adventure, we ordered our hamburgers and french fries. At the table my mother, as if she were performing a most solemn magic trick, taught us how to dip our french fries in ketchup for a new, fascinating taste sensation!
Imagine taking something as mundane as eating french fries and making it a mystical experience. That's what kids do all the time. We adults could use some of that magic from time to time. Here is my take on 33 Ways to be Childlike posted by Tiny Buddah:
1. Read a book you loved as a kid. Where the Wild Things Are! Everyone Poops! Pippi Longstocking! Green Eggs and Ham! El Raton Perez! What's your favorite?
2. Figure out how something works. It's so easy to Google the craziest things like How do worms have sex? Or what does a pineapple plant look like? Learning just for the hell of it is incredibly entertaining.
3. Fill out your own permission slip to go to the aquarium, a museum, or a nearby tourist attraction. If something looks interesting, take a break and go! Having kids helps because they are a good excuse to drop chores and head out. One Friday my daughter got home from school and suggested we go to Starbucks for her favorite frozen drink. I was tired and there was dinner to prepare so I resisted, but when a teenager says she wants to spend time with you, you go. The break was totally refreshing. The permission slip? Oh! I ordered-in from the Falafel Bar instead of cooking dinner!
4. Do something fun. When I'm working at home and need a break I grab a ball and go outside with my dog. He's the world's worst at fetching but he makes up for it in enthusiasm. Watching him jump up to catch the ball in mid-air lightens my heart with childlike joy.
5. Explore. Walk around your block without any
intention. Just see what’s going on, maybe even using a big fallen
branch as a walking stick. I can do this in my own back yard or even the drive between home and the office. When you take the time to pay attention and just look it's as if you are seeing the familiar for the first time.
6. Run or skip if you feel like it. My favorite is to put on some revved up dance music, maybe Shakira or Lady Gaga, and dance like no one is watching… Because (this is so great) no one is!
7. Be silly and laugh out loud. Look for funny things in your day–they’re always there–and let yourself laugh about them. And if you laugh 'too loudly', like I do, let it rip! I was in a shop the other day. I was laughing with the clerk about something silly. An old friend, who I haven't seen in years, popped up and said, "I thought I recognized that laugh!" That my laugh precedes me is something I've learned to accept. It's a little embarrassing and wonderful at the same time.
8. Try a new look. Think the kid from Adam Sandler’s Big Daddy, when he dressed himself, but a little less ridiculous. This is why God gave us accessories. Grab a bright scarf, those shiny earrings, a big, thick belt and your mommy's (I mean, your) highest heels. Strut your stuff like those kids on Toddlers & Tiaras.
9. Remember something awesome and call a friend to share it. This is most fun with someone who shares the memories, or similar ones, like a sister or your best friend from college. My son just went to his Junior Prom. After the photos were taken and he left with his date, my husband and I smiled and laughed remembering our own prom nights. Those were good times (and thank god my son isn't as crazy as we were!)
10. Tell someone they’re your hero. If you admire what they do, look right in their eyes and say, “I think you’re pretty awesome.” I know this is corny, but kids are corny like that and not afraid to show it!
I swear, when you share your admiration frankly and directly with someone, endorphins are released, producing a natural high that is very child-like and makes everyone feel good.
You get the picture? Great! Have fun and read all 33 ways to reconnect with the kid in you at tinybuddha.com.
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