Why can’t we be more like three-year olds? Last Saturday I was driving home from a workout, listening to Eddie Vedder and my mind began to drift. The next thing I was thinking is why couldn’t I have the same outlook all the time as my three-year old son has? Vedder has a way of making you have such deep thoughts. This week we’re going to discuss five ways why we should think, act, and view the world more like a three-year old.
1) He doesn’t care about color or race.
Unfortunately race is still an issue in our country. Kids don’t care about skin color. What truly matters to them is what type of person an individual is. We’re not born knowing stereotypes or racist views; they are learned, not inherited. I always try to relate things to sports, and on the best teams race doesn’t matter. Sports help teach and promote tolerance. As Bill Parcells said in his epic Hall of Fame speech, “the only thing that matters in a locker room is can you help? And are you willing to help us win?” I wish the world were colorblind like our children are.
2) Age isn’t anything but a number.
As we grow older we become more cautious and we take fewer risks. Sometimes that’s a good thing, but we tend to act older than we really are. My son is a cautious risk taker. Sometimes he’ll think things through and decide, “Nah, I better not do this.” And I sit there saying, “Wow, great decision. I’m impressed.” Other times I’ll be watching him and think, “Ok, there’s no way he’s going to do that.” Then BAM. He goes and does something crazy. There’s an important lesson there. Be fearless. Take calculated risks. My son is afraid of getting hurt and that’s about it. Well, sometimes monsters too. But regardless, he’s not afraid to take chances and as we age we tend to become more and more cautious. We should never become too old to play dinosaurs, trucks, and run through sprinklers. My son just wants to have fun and do what makes him happy. I admire that and want to be more like him. Who cares about outside views or expectations on how we should be or act? We have only one life. This isn’t a dress rehearsal, so we might as well live it to the fullest. Just like our children do.
3) The two things that matter most: Are they nice? Am I nice?
Simple, yet profound. Why do as adults have to make this so complicated? All that really matters is if a person is nice. As we get older we take into consideration too many other things such as: how big their house is, what cars do they have, are they skinny, are they fat, what kind of job do they have, etc. None of that matters. To my son, if someone is nice to him they’re alright in his book. Now obviously, he needs to know stranger danger, but he genuinely likes all people who are nice. And he is very concerned if someone doesn’t think he’s being nice. What kind of world would we have if everyone focused on those two questions, “Are they nice? Am I nice?” There is no question it would be a better world.
4) Show care, concern, and be empathetic.
Far too often it seems as if we’re living in a cold world. My wife and I were talking recently about our son’s best traits and we both agreed that he’s amazingly empathetic with others. If someone’s sad, he genuinely cares and wants to make things better. As adults we should be more like this. If someone’s sad, comfort them. Recently, my wife lost her grandmother. She was crying and upset. My son, not knowing what was going on, gently walked up to her, gave her a hug and said, “I just love you.” As adults we become numb and cold. Most of the time we don’t care about other people’s problems and we’re glad that they have them. We need to take the empathy our children have and nurture it so it becomes something rooted deep in their souls. Empathy is our greatest trait and adults need to have more of it.
5) Have a real zest for life.
Everything is an adventure for a three-year old. Anything you do is exciting. The little things matter and he doesn’t take anything for granted. He has unconditional love for the people, toys, and things and matter most to him. One of the great gifts in life is hearing your child laugh. Think about how many adults go through their day without ever laughing. For a three-year old, this isn’t possible. They’re not afraid to laugh at themselves and everything else that is going on. Each day ends with memories of the fun times had and anticipation of the great day that awaits in the morning. As we age we need to maintain and grow our zest for life because we’re all closer to the end than the beginning. Let’s be like our children and make each day an adventure.
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!
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