5 Lessons Children Can Teach Us About Joy

05/15/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011


I was one of those kids who never allowed herself to be a kid. As a result, I missed out on many joys of childhood. I didn't know, for instance, what it felt like to lose oneself in artwork because I would not allow myself to pick up a paintbrush. I didn't think I could paint the perfect picture.

It wasn't until later, after I became a grownup, that I took up art and realized how freeing it was. I now create scrapbooks, collages, and inspiration boards. This artwork allows me to get dirty and to create - without worrying about the end product. I can enjoy the process, even if the final result isn't perfect.

I now work with children on a daily basis and they have taught me many more lessons about joy.

If you're not good at something, do it again. Kids do many things badly. They fall off their bikes. They come in last in races. They try to hop on one foot, but can't. They sing off key. It goes on and on. Yet, they usually don't cry about their failures. If anything, they laugh them off. They enjoy the process of failing! And because they keep trying, they get better and eventually even good at many things.

If you feel like crying, do it. As adults, we tend to hide our tears and try not to cry at all. This causes sadness and tension to linger. Kids? When they are sad or frustrated, they scream and cry and bang their little fists and feet on the floor. Then, once they've had a good catharsis, they stand back up with a smile and are ready to face the world again.

Make up your own dance moves. Have you ever put on a Kidz Bop CD and watched a room full of 4 year olds react? It's an amazing experience. The kids jump and hop and shimmy like no tomorrow - without a care in the world as to what they look like. They don't worry about perfecting the latest dance moves. Instead, they just move their bodies in ways that feels good to them - and they enjoy every minute of it.

Hug your friends. Kids love to hug. They offer kisses easily. They snuggle and generally express themselves easily through touch. As adults, we can learn a lot from their openness.

Wonder why, about everything. As adults, we tend to take the world around us for granted. We are so used to things being a certain way that we no longer question them. Children, though, are so curious. They want to know why flowers grow in one place and not in another. They want to know what's at the center of the Earth. They want to know why the leaves change colors. The world delights and awes them on a daily basis. It can do the same for us, too, as long as we allow ourselves to remain curious about the wonder all around us.

What lessons have you learned from children? Leave a comment.

For even more posts about joy and inspiration, please visit my personal blog: A Beautiful Ripple Effect.