Time to Get Your Inner Child On
By Jane Tawel
May 13, 2020
It is time for each of us to plan for the “new normal” of our First Post Corona Virus Pandemic Lives. I say, “First”, because there will be more, not maybe, but definitely, if not Pandemics, then other world-wide paradigm-shifting events. My advice — Get Your Inner Kid Back On.
If we all begin to think and act like children again, I think we might have a better chance of not only survival but more enjoyment of life. If we hark back to attitudes, behaviors, warnings, and beliefs from when we were kids, we might deconstruct and then reconstruct where we have gone wrong as adults. Time to get our inner-kid and outer-child in gear, ramped up, and ready to roll.
I have included a minimum by the way of explanation or example in my list below of Lessons from Childhood. I figure every reader will have their own of both. If you have forgotten what your parents tried to teach you when you were a kid, ask them; they will not only remember but probably still have your score sheets for how well you did.
A lot of what we learned as children wasn’t learned from our parents, but from our time spent with our friends, and it has been interesting during this Pandemic Sheltering-in Time, to find out who our real friends are, and what we can learn from each other. Popularity doesn’t matter so much right now and neither does being the teacher’s pet. So, we are all reassessing, maybe a bit. What cliques do we want to belong to when we get out of this “thing”? And what purpose do we want to find in life beyond “grades” and “praise”?
During this world-wide sheltering-in, we haven’t gotten as much play time with our friends and family, but we have learned a lot and found creative ways to stay connected. We’ve actually had to be a lot more like kids again. We’ve managed to get to bed on time, and make our own lunches. We’ve had to find something to do if we get bored. I think a lot of us have remembered how fun doing simple things can be, and how much we love the people we live with.
There are many lessons that we can learn if we remember the lessons from our childhoods. They will be very helpful — critical even — for our life in “the new normal”. Here are some I think we should start with.
Important Life Lessons Learned from Childhood
1. Treat everyone close to you as if they might have cooties. They might.
2. Don’t let the people close to you breathe your air. It’s yours and your little sister can’t have it.
3. You can talk to strangers but don’t get close enough to them that they might grab you. Or give you cooties.
4. Smile with your whole face.
5. Enjoy every time you get to wear a mask by imagining every day is Halloween. Go up to people and say: “Trick or Treat” and see how much candy you can come home with.
6. Treat your money like a stingy allowance your parents give you. Remind yourself that your parents only give you an allowance so you can “learn how to take care of your money”. Remember, you won’t get any more until next week, so save it up for something you really, really, really want.
7. Save whatever you don’t spend of your allowance, along with any loose change you find on the sidewalk or in the couch where your dad usually sits. Keep it at home in a jar on your dresser. It will earn at least as much there as it is earning right now invested in the stock market.
8. Make good choices. You almost always have a choice. Some are good, some are better, and some are best. Take time to make the best ones.
9. It is better to be safe than sorry.
10. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.
11. Spend every free moment playing.
12. Get your work done fast, so you have more play time.
13. Go outside and play.
14. You have to include everyone and let everyone play, even if you don’t like them.
15. Everyone gets to be on a team.
16. It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you’ve played the game.
17. Clean your plate. There’s going to be a lot more starving children “over there”. Think of them and finish everything on your plate. Which will remind you to not let your eyes be hungrier than your stomach. Take only what you can (should) eat.
18. Eat your vegetables.
19. Don’t chew with your mouth open. It’s disgusting (and spreads viruses).
20. Clean your hands. You actually DO know now where they’ve been. Wash them. A lot.
21. Stop picking your nose. In fact, stop touching your face.
22. Practice makes, if not exactly perfect, at least makes you good enough to stay in the game. Keep practicing and you’ll get there.
23. You have to share. Period.
24. I call shotgun! (That has nothing to do with good lessons from childhood, I just wanted to call it first before we’re allowed to travel again.)
25. Turn the lights out when you leave the room, do you think I’m made of money?!
26. God helps the one who helps himself (and who helps others).
27. Honor your mother and father so you can live long on the earth.
Parents, as long as they live, will never stop being totally irritating for trying to tell their children how to live. We owe it to our parents to irritate them right back so that they know how to live.
28. Remember, our parents brought us into this world, and they can take us back out. Of course, now we know that we can take them out too, if we aren’t careful.
29. Be careful.
30. Do as I say, not as I do.
It is time for us, the “children” of the world to appreciate the lessons of the parents, and to do the right things they have tried to teach us to do (whether they actually did them themselves or not). We should all be grateful for what we learned as children and appreciate the life-lessons of our elders. We should grieve for all the people who didn’t have parents, or at least, have good parents, but all that means is that those of us who did have good parents, need to do the heavy lifting and the hard work. As the good parents told us, “we should know better”.
No matter who our parents were or are, we can try to believe that they tried to do their best with their children, and now we need to try to do our best for the future of our children, and our children’s children. It is a critical time for us to do much, much better. Better than our parents, but also better than we were all doing before this whole thing happened.
Whatever the unsettling, even catastrophic “thing” is that happens in our lives, our families, or our world, we need to remember and re- believe that human beings, like children, have an infinite capacity for creative do-overs.
Let’s call “do-overs”, okay, Kids?
We are a world-family, and if we didn’t know it before, we should recognize it now. We can do great things, if we all work together like a happy, hopeful band of children. Let’s begin to look at the world with the same eyes and hearts that children do when they are rebuilding a fort, singing rounds in the back of the car, going on a team scavenger hunt, making breakfast to surprise mom, working in the garage with dad, making mud pies in the yard, selling at a lemonade stand, playing hide and seek, or jump rope or hop-scotch, or doing any of those things we used to think were fun and important because we were doing them with people who were our friends and our family.
If we get our “inner-child” back on, we might find that the greatest games in this Game of Life, are played best, when we play nicely with others.
Let’s love each other as if every older person were our very own beloved parent and let’s love every younger person as if they were our very own beloved child.
Let’s act like children again in all the right ways.
And finally, the most important lesson of all that we can take away from this time, and that we need to believe as sincerely and as deeply as children do is:
31. You are the very, very, very best gift in the world. You are loved to infinity and beyond.